Arsenal in Talks With Real Madrid Over the Potential Transfer of Isco

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Spain midfielder Francisco Roman Alarcón Suarez, better known as Isco, is reported to be in talks for a move to Arsenal.

Currently at Real Madrid, the 29-year-old will be a free agent in June 2022. Isco has been part of Real Madrid since 2013 and played a pivotal role in winning three peaches between 2016 and 2018. However, in the past 3 years, he has only scored 34th league start.

Under coach Carlo Ancelotti this season, the Spanish midfielder has managed just 168 league minutes in 12 games, losing behind Vinicius Junior, Marco Asensio, Rodrygo and others. Arsenal have emerged as a potential relief for the beleaguered Spaniard.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

According to Spanish director TodoFichajes (via The Sun), Arsenal are interested in securing Isco’s services. Arsenal are longtime fans of the former Malaga playmaker and have reportedly contacted the Madrid leaders over a potential transfer deal.

The Spanish midfielder has been closely linked with Arsenal in this summer transfer window, with reports stating that he will be available for just £15m. The north London side signed with teammate and Norway international Martin Odegaard instead. However, with the prolonged exile from Ancelotti’s starting line-up and the contract waning, rumors have resurfaced.

With Milan dropping out of the race, TodoFichajes believes Arsenal are a strong contender to secure the Spain international’s signature. However, Newcastle United are also said to be chasing them and they believe Isco could be a leading figure in the turmoil the team has made thanks to a multi-billion dollar acquisition.

The report states that the club is open for sale and the final decision rests with the player himself. While Isco himself hinted at a move to the Premier League in late 2020, later reports suggested his high salary may have been the reason he never moved to Arsenal.

However, the Gunners could be tempted to enter the bidding pool this time around. They lack quality in depth, especially in midfield and the board seems to be falling behind the manager. With the ties of other players playing similar positions fading, such as Houssem Aouar and Julian Brandt, Isco could be a realistic option for Arsenal.

Although Isco is in a good phase of his career, the lack of consistent minutes makes him a somewhat risky choice. Over the past 365 days, his performance has looked like this:

Isco, Arsenal
Percentile Radar for Isco . Performance

Radar looks impressive, even more so when compared to current Mikel Arteta options: Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe.

Isco, Arsenal
Odegaard’s Centennial Performance Radar (left) and Emile Smith Rowe’s Centennial Performance Radar (right)

Pros and cons of signing Isco for Arsenal:

Positives:

  1. expertise:Isco has played a lot of football in LaLiga and the Champions League over the years. Arsenal’s current midfield includes young players such as Sambi Lukonga, Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, and Isco can bring some balance to the squad.
  2. Depth:Mikel Arteta often used a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1 formation taking a 3-4-3 formation in attack, with a midfield from Xhaka, Partey, Smith-Rowe, Lacazette or Odegaard as a secondary striker. Behind Aubameyang. However, Gunners are sorely lacking in backup options. While Lokonga, Elneny and even Maitland-Niles can cover defensive roles, they have almost no support for an attacking midfield role.
  3. Quality:At the moment, Isco is a much better player than Odegaard or Smith-Rowe. His quality from deep areas and ability to get ahead with the ball can greatly help the north London side, who have often struggled to create clear chances. 76% of the opponent’s pressure against Arsenal occurs in midfield or in the attacking third position, and Isco’s ability to defeat a 1v1 man or create a chance out of nothing could add a layer to Arteta’s side.
  4. central role: Unlike Real Madrid, where Isco was a deputy to Ronaldo or Benzema who the system was built around, Mikel Arteta could have deployed Isco into a system that would better complement his skill set, if not built around the Spaniard.

cons:

  1. Progress halted:Smith-Rowe made huge progress under Arteta and Odegaard also looked very bright. Although Isco may be a better player at the moment, it could be counterproductive for Arsenal to drop any of their juniors to accommodate the Spaniard. Furthermore, the transfer of Miguel Aziz and Volaren Balogun to the main team may be negatively affected by the signing.
  2. Low cost, but not low risk:Although Isco could hit a discounted rate in January or a free transfer in June, his high salary is still an issue. If reports about his £6m annual wage demands are correct, he will automatically become one of Arsenal’s highest paid players, behind Aubameyang, Lacazette, Barty and Pepe. And at 29, Isco is a medium-to-short-term investment, so higher wages will likely hamper future engagements.
  3. Posture problems:For a player who was so important under Zidane, Isco struggled to gain the same confidence from Lopetegui, Solari and even the Frenchman in his second spell and now finally Ancelotti. A crack was noted on the surface when he was reported to have failed to warm up in 3 matches in 2020. Under Arteta, along with a group of relatively inexperienced players, Isco could be a passive presence in the dressing room.

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Overall, Isco is a real choice for Arsenal in January. However, with other options like Lorenzo Pellegrini, Dejan Kulusevski, Karim Adeyemi, Houssem Aouar and Christopher Nkunku, players who can play as attacking midfielder or on the wings, and communicating with a potential move to the Emirates, the Gunners won’t have much to regret if They would look elsewhere.

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