Real Madrid midfielder Isco is reportedly keen on a move to Manchester City after struggling for opportunities at the Santiago Bernabeu.
John Cross of the Daily Mirror wrote the 23-year-old’s representatives will hold “showdown talks” with Los Blancos chiefs on Tuesday about his position.
It’s suggested that Isco wants to link up with Manuel Pellegrini again having worked together at Malaga, with a loan move in January and a subsequent £25 million permanent move in the summer mooted.
Although Isco has struggled to get regular minutes in Real’s star-studded attacking setup, he’s a player who would walk into the majority of teams in world football. Here’s a look at why:
In Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, Madrid manager Rafael Benitez has a lot of quality to choose from at the sharp end of the pitch.
Formerly, Isco is the man who would be the first to step in is any of that quartet couldn't play, but in recent weeks Benitez’s decisions seem to suggest he has fallen down the pecking order.
There have been reports of unrest too. According to El Chiringuito (h/t Carlos Forjanes of AS), Isco was punished by his manager after he was spotted laughing when Los Blancos conceded a goal.
During the game, a 10-2 win over Rayo Vallecano, Benitez turned to substitutes Lucas Vazquez, Mateo Kovacic and Alvaro Arbeloa instead of the Spain international.
As ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan reports here, Benitez was giving little away when asked why the midfielder isn’t being used more often:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Rafa on why again didnt use Isco or Jese: “We have 24 players in the squad, and can only use 14 in each game. That’s the answer.”2015-12-30 17:29:27
The situation could well be to City’s benefit, though, because despite these reports, Isco is a wonderful footballer.
Blessed with incredible technique, supreme vision and a low centre of gravity, the former Malaga man is a player who can turn a game in an instant.
His willingness to be creative in possession makes Isco very popular among Madridistas, who would be disappointed to see him leave, especially given he’s one of a few Spanish players in the squad.
The player himself will be a little concerned by the current situation at the Santiago Bernabeu too. Isco is at a point in his career where he needs to be playing regular games and although he’ll acknowledge the quality of his team-mates, there does come a point when enough is enough, even if it means leaving a club like Real Madrid.
City would seem to make sense for the midfielder too. He’s well acquainted with Pellegrini having linked up previously, the Etihad Stadium side have an ageing midfield and Isco would immediately become one of the very best players in English football.
The key factor is whether or not Real are willing to give up on such a promising player. Benitez’s pragmatic principles mean we’re not likely to see the best of a technician like Isco under his guidance.