Should Arsenal make moves to sign Real Madrid's Isco?
Summer transfer windows are always turbulent times for Arsenal fans. Links to players worldwide interweave strong preseason performances and promises of unleashing the famed “war chest”, but more often than not, the Gunners fail to aptly fill the gaps in their squad.
While a striker and a centre-back have to be the priority for Arsene Wenger this summer, the North London club are struggling for depth in the midfield. Theo Walcott has continually failed to reach the heights he was capable of, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain remains a source of frustratio, and Mesut Özil is the only natural no. 10 in the squad.
Santi Cazorla favours playing deeper with age, Aaron Ramsey doesn’t look comfortable on the right, and perpetual injuries continue to plague Jack Wilshere. Alex Iwobi is an incredible prospect, but remains just that for the time being: a promising youngster who can grow into the first team as the season goes on.
As such, Arsenal need to sign a player who is comfortable across the attacking midfield if they want to compete across all competitions throughout the next campaign, and the Express have linked the Gunners to the perfect candidate.
24-year-old Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez, commonly known as Isco, has fallen victim to circumstance in his time at Real Madrid. Signed for €30 million from Malaga in 2013, the forward was set to inherit the number 10 position from Mesut Özil. He had shown incredible promise at his former club, and was instrumental in their qualification for the Champions League in 2012/13.
In his debut season at Madrid, the Spaniard made 44 appearances in La Liga and the Champions League alone, averaging an 89% pass completion rate. He was hailed as “the most promising young player in Spanish football” by journalists, but that promise was stunted by what many regard as a marketing ploy by club president Florentino Pérez.
Real Madrid signed Columbian James Rodriguez in 2014 for a fee rumoured to be around 80 million euros. While undoubtedly a quality player, conspiracy theorists saw the move as an opportunity to boost Real’s profile in Columbia and evidence of Perez’s influence on the first team.
As such, Isco was relegated to deputy, and was forced out wide or into deeper midfield positions. He has recently been deemed surplus to requirements by Zinedine Zidane, placing the Gunners on high alert. The versatile midfielder would be the perfect option to bolster Arsene Wenger’s attacking options.
In his time at Madrid, Isco has never dropped below an average of 88% pass success rate for the season. His incredible precision with the ball is one of the defining traits of the Spaniard’s play, and would doubtless be an asset to Arsene Wenger.
His teams often rely on incisive possession football counter attacking to create goals. Having a player that can find a pass consistently in any situation is a key part of what makes Wenger’s system effective.
Isco stats are not solely bolstered by five-yard sideways passes either. Mainly playing deeper in midfield, he assisted seven goals in 21 starts last season and created 1.4 goal scoring opportunities per game.
Alexis has given Arsenal a different dimension to their attack since he signed in 2014. His direct approach to dribbling is devastatingly effective and exhilarating to watch.
While not as explosively powerful, Isco is a true phenomenon with the ball at his feet. It is rare to find a player with such a divine first touch and incredible close control, with the ability to drift effortlessly through challenges and come out entirely composed. His dynamism would doubtless provide another outlet to Arsenal’s attack, and hopefully bare some of the weight that Alexis bore near alone last season.
Isco struggled to make a real impact at Real Madrid last season, but in previous seasons and at Malaga he showed how impressive he can be. Carlo Ancelotti, who managed Isco at Real Madrid, said “He has incredible technical quality and people who love football want to see players like Isco.”
That raw talent and an ever developing awareness of the game make Isco an incredibly dangerous player, and would doubtless provide a fantastic signing for an Arsenal side lacking in attacking depth.
Rumours surrounding a concrete fee are scarce, but in the current market, clubs could expect to prise the Spaniard away from Madrid for upwards of £30 million.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Gabriel González