Isco is undoubtedly one of footballs brightest talents. The young Malaga star has burst onto the European stage this season with 30 appearances and his extraordinary dribbling abilities have caught the eye of many of Europe’s biggest clubs. He is Malaga’s source of inspiration after a difficult transfer window, leading them through to the knockout stages of the Champions League whilst holding a credible 4th position in league after last years circus-esque scenes. Malaga’s best player and top scorer left that summer in Santi Cazorla and Saloman Rondon after well documented financial difficulties; and Isco will be wary that he may be the next ram to be sacrificed in order to keep Malaga away from administration.
The UEFA golden boy winner of 2012 has drawn comparisons with Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta with the way he glides past other players with extreme ease; a true modern Spanish winger. Usually cutting in from the left, he floats across the pitch looking for a run to execute an incisive pass, or taking on a shot himself. He has already recorded 10 goals and 3 assists this season, a exceptional return for a 20 year old.
Despite only being 20, his football career has been a merry-go-round. He left Malaga as child and headed up west to Valencia where he spent 3 years before he broke into the first team. He first gained the world’s attention when he scored twice on his debut at the age of 18 against UD Logroñés. He had only made 4 appearances for Valencia’s first team but by next year he was already heading back home to Malaga after they activated his €6m buy-out clause. Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini slowly eased him into the team, often playing him on the wing or behind the striker, where he was able to express himself. With their new found wealth, it looked as if Isco would stay for many years to come, but all that changed come summer 2012.
Their owner, Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, had decided that he couldn’t afford to continue pumping money into his club and so he pulled the plug and sold off his prized assets. Out went the superstars like Cazorla and in came players like Manchester City reject Roque Santa Cruz and Javior Saviola – all loan deals or frees. It’s the ugly side of modern ownership – a horrible reminder to all Blues. Considering the sale of players, it was surprising that they even kept Isco at all, and even more surprising that they managed to convince him to sign a new contract.
Since then Malaga have plummeted into huge debt and UEFA banned them from next year’s competition – something which would definitely disturb their young star. With no European football for Isco next season mixed with Malaga’s financials woes, it looks increasingly likely that he will leave this summer. But only at the right price. His buy-out clause is thought to be around £30m which, even for City, is a substantial amount for a player with only a few years in top- flight. Since Malaga did not lengthen Isco’s contract in Jan, choosing only to increase his buy-out clause, it is evident that they are not looking to keep him for much longer. “If it would help Malaga, I wouldn’t have a problem accepting a transfer, if it benefited the both of us,” said the young winger.
Goal.com, while not the most reliable of sources, reported that Mancini was “desperate” to get his hands on Isco back in the summer and that he would definitely renew his interest this year. Isco would be a fantastic addition to our squad, slotting perfectly into our system as one of the 3 creators behind the striker. What he offers differently to Silva and Nasri though is pace – something we need to add to our attacking dimension – and most importantly goals. Most critiques of Silva and Nasri is that they do not get enough goals, reaping huge pressure onto our strikers to perform. A young, fast and creative midfielder is exactly what City need, and Isco offers exactly that.