Real Madrid Transfer News: Latest on James Rodriguez and Isco Exit Rumours

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2017

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 22:  James Rodriguez of Real Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Real Madrid at Mestalla Stadium on February 22, 2017 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
fotopress/Getty Images

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez reportedly held discussions with Inter Milan representative Zhang Jindong on Friday to discuss a possible deal for James Rodriguez.

According to Tuttosport and Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Football Italia), Perez spoke with Zhang, the chief of the Suning group that owns the Italian club, about numerous topics, although the possible sale of the Colombian was said to be top of the agenda.

Football Italia suggested Zhang is trying to forge a link with Los Blancos that could put them ahead in the race to sign Rodriguez. As noted in the report, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with the 25-year-old.

Rodriguez may not be a regular at the Santiago Bernabeu at the moment, but there's no denying his talent as one of the world's best playmakers. Here's what he can offer:

Since Zinedine Zidane was appointed as Madrid manager, Rodriguez has found minutes tough to come by in the Spanish capital.

The coach favours a 4-3-3 setup, and while Rodriguez is versatile enough to operate in one of the wide roles, it's rare we've seen him utilised in his best position behind the centre-forward. Indeed, he's only made five starts in La Liga this season.

As these numbers from OptaJose illustrate, when Zidane does call on Rodriguez from the off, typically he makes a positive impression on the game:

However, the Madrid manager isn't keen to accommodate too many players in the team who aren't diligent in their defensive duties. Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are the only two players who have been granted tactical freedom in big games under his watch.

Although he's a wonderful passer of the ball and an expert dribbler, Rodriguez isn't a good enough defender. But in the right kind of setup at a club like Inter, he has the quality needed to cement his status as a world-class operator once again.

      

Tottenham Hotspur Linked with Isco

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 18: Isco Alarcon of Real Madrid runs during the match Real Madrid vs RCD Espanyol, a La Liga match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on 18 February 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

According to Sport Bild (h/t Calciomercato), Tottenham Hotspur remain in the hunt to land Real Madrid playmaker Isco.

The report suggested the midfielder is likely to leave the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the campaign due to his frustration at not getting regular football. As well as Spurs, the report noted that Juventus and rivals Barcelona have also been linked with the Madrid man.

Isco, like Rodriguez, has found himself on the fringes of Zidane's squad and rarely utilised in the biggest matches at the Bernabeu. His contract is set to expire in 2018.

The Spain international has had decent runs in the team since arriving from Malaga in 2013, but he's never done quite enough to cement his place in the XI. Football journalist Rafael Hernandez feels as though the ex-Malaga man might benefit from a change of scenery and a different manager:

Isco remains popular among the Madridistas. When he is on song, there aren't many midfielders better than him in world football.

However, inconsistency has riddled Isco's game in recent seasons, and that's something that'll only be eradicated with a set position and a consistent run of matches. After four years, it's become clear that's not a luxury Isco is going to be privy to in Madrid.

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