Why Arsenal moving for Isco in January could solve No.10 woes
The 27-year-old has slipped down the pecking order under Zinedine Zidane and has played only a bit-part role at the Bernabeu in the ongoing campaign. The Spaniard has started just twice in the La Liga and is yet to feature in the Los Blancos’ UEFA Champions League campaign.
Regarded as one of the most influential creative players in the La Liga, Isco has suffered a drastic fall in grace at Madrid since the start of the previous campaign.
The 38-cap Spanish international started only 11 league games for his club last season and things seem to be heading in the direction for him this term as well, with his involvement limited to just 4 appearances across all competitions thus far.
Isco still has a contract at the Bernabeu until the summer of 2022 but it is hard to envisage a player of his stature living with such a bit-part role at the club.
Zidane’s unwillingness to use him regularly clearly points to an exit in January and the 27-year-old would probably need to seek greener pastures if he is really serious about his international future, with Euro 2020 around the corner.
Now, as the report goes, Isco’s unsettled situation at Madrid has put some of the Premier League giants on red alert ahead of the mid-season trading period, with Man City and Arsenal both identifying the playmaker as an immediate game-changer.
The Spaniard, who has racked up a staggering 48 goals and 52 assists in 281 appearances for the Los Blancos in all competitions, might have struggled for regular minutes but the three-time Champions League winner certainly has the CV to be an inspired addition to any Premier League squad.
To put things into perspective, Arsenal could land themselves an immediate solution to their attacking midfield conundrum if they manage to beat off competition from Man City in the race to sign Isco in January.
The Gunners spent heavily on the likes of William Saliba and Nicolas Pepe in the summer while Dani Ceballos joined from Real Madrid for a hefty loan fee, however, the need for further reinforcements has been quite apparent if the club’s performances in the first couple of months are anything to go by.
With Aaron Ramsey no longer in the scene, Mesut Ozil converted into a marginalised figure by manager Unai Emery and Pepe failing to live up to his massive price tag, Arsenal have often found themselves bereft of ideas in the final third.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goalscoring form coupled with the industrious displays of Joe Willock, Ceballos and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as the emergence of teenage academy prospect Bukayo Saka, have bailed Arsenal out of misery on a number of occasions but that can’t really go on for too long.
Guendouzi and Willock are not out-and-out creative players while Ceballos, though really impressive and influential at times, is yet to be deemed worthy of a regular starting role in that No.10 position.
Truth be told, Arsenal’s lack of creativity in the final third has been quite painful at times and someone like Isco could definitely be a massive upgrade on their existing options.
Not only does the 27-year-old have the natural guile and finesse of a genius playmaker, but he is also capable of making a big impact with his speed of thought, vision and, of course, a high level of footballing IQ, which Arsenal currently lack.
The Gunners are going to find it difficult to challenge for a top-four finish with such a workmanlike midfield cavalry and Isco could provide that much-needed creative spark while also inducing that X-Factor into the team’s supply lines.
Given that Arsenal spent heavily in the summer despite their financial difficulties stemming from missing out on Champions League qualification last season, Real Madrid’s asking price could be a stumbling block for the Gunners in their pursuit of Isco.
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However, a loan deal with an option to make the move permanent next summer could be a better piece of business and a more presentable agreement for the Gunners.
To that end, though, Arsenal would have to make sure that they ship Mesut Ozil out on loan in January to free up funds for another big-earner like Isco to arrive.