Real Madrid's first signing of the Carlo Ancelotti era looks set to be Malaga's attacking midfielder, Isco, after the Real president, Florentino Perez, confirmed only a medical was left pending, according to Goal.com.
Having recently been on duty with the successful Spanish under-21 side at the European Championships, the whole continent has awoken to the talents of the creative player over the past 12 months. Real will pay around €24 million for his services, as per Marca.
After a season of unrest and playing catchup in La Liga, Real Madrid will see the signing as symbolic of the new regime. They will once again be filled with optimism that they can become the dominant power domestically and, given time, finally reclaim their European crown.
Whereas Ancelotti's predecessor, Jose Mourinho, was bestowed with gifts of players such as Sami Khedira, Fabio Coentrao and Luka Modric during his time at the club, the signing of Isco is somewhat different with him not being a well-established player, versed in several seasons' worth of European competition.
Of course, the fee is no less exorbitant than Real have paid for some of those players.
Isco will offer Ancelotti a number of tactical options, with the Italian boss promising to bring entertainment next season. According to Marca, "We want to play offensive and spectacular football. We're going to work hard to play football that makes the fans happy."
In his present role for club and country, Isco would be expected to figure for Real Madrid from the left side of the attack—but a certain Cristiano Ronaldo stands in his way there. Ancelotti may have a particular plan in mind for the Portuguese star, and getting the best out of him will remain key to any success Real have.
Isco, then, might be used in other areas.
Playing the same 4-2-3-1 as they did under Mourinho, Isco could certainly be used in the central attacking midfield role, using his on-the-ball technique to its finest abilities and helping Real retain and recycle possession in the final third.
There is a good chance they could become more consistent and less direct in attack where ball retention is concerned next season, and Isco's technical ability would be a huge asset in that case.
Choosing between Isco and Mesut Ozil for the role is a nice problem to have too. But the German wasn't always at his best last term and may be pushed out to the right or else entirely out of the side to accommodate the newest signing.
Alternatively, Ancelotti might look to abandon that shape and play a similar asymmetric 4-2-2-2 to his PSG side; two holding midfielders, Ozil and Isco in the second line and Ronaldo loosely up front with a striker of the manager's choosing would initially seem to serve.
A more adventurous 4-3-3 would also seem to be on the cards if Ancelotti can manage to help his side control matches more often.
In utilising two from the trio of Luka Modric, Xabi Alonso and Isco, Real would have a deeper midfield pairing capable of good work rate, excellent technique and creativity as they moved further up the park. A more physical holding midfielder behind would provide the platform for those two to do their best work moving forward as a pair.
There will be several more incomings and outgoings from Real Madrid over the next two months, no doubt, as Ancelotti finds out which players will be brought in for him—and which are surplus to requirements.
Isco, however, will likely be a cornerstone of this next Real side being built, possibly in several roles, potentially off the bench as a game-controller or -changer for a period. But very much with one eye on becoming the next leader of the Madrid side searching to recapture La Liga and finally end the long, long wait for the decima—the Holy Grail—the 10th Champions League title.