Arsene Wenger spent January emptying and re-stocking the cupboard in attack for Arsenal, and he might not be done yet.
The Express have cited a report in AS that Spanish midfielder Isco will be allowed to leave Real Madrid this summer, with Arsenal and Liverpool circling as potential suitors for the 25-year-old. Zinedine Zidane’s side are in a serious slump, currently 19 points behind league leaders Barcelona, a few weeks ago Madrid were closer to the relegation zone than to Barca. This kind of once every two years collapse in the league seems at this point fairly standard for Real Madrid, similar to Chelsea in the Premier League. Nonetheless it won’t be tolerated by the club hierarchy and Zidane will therefore need to shake up his squad to change the fortunes of one of the biggest clubs in football, it’s believed that Isco could be one of the sacrificial lambs of change. This could be good news for Arsenal and Liverpool who will both potentially be in need of a player of Isco’s calibre in midfield for next season.
Arsenal cannot rely on Santi Cazorla making a miraculous recovery from his never-ending and gruesome injury woes while Jack Wilshere’s expiring contract is still yet to be renewed, and even if he stays, has proven far from certain to stay clear of injuries himself. Cazorla and Wilshere in a vacuum are probably seen as a “number 10” style player, but both have been deployed as a true central midfielder with Mesut Ozil ahead of them, this is a role that Isco could fill if Arsenal move on from their current options at that position and provide competition to, or a better version of Aaron Ramsey.
Liverpool would likely use Isco differently, Jurgen Klopp may see Isco as an ideal replacement for Philippe Coutinho as the key cog of their attack, linking the play between their midfield and their fearsome attack whilst chipping in with goals and assists. The stats show slightly better production for Coutinho in that area so far this season, with 7 goals and 6 assists compared to 5 goals and 4 assists for Isco, but Coutinho was much more the star of the team at Liverpool than Isco is at Real Madrid. With Naby Keita arriving at Anfield in the summer, Liverpool fans can dream of a tantalising midfield and attack if Isco were to come in, even with Emre Can’s seemingly imminent departure to Juventus.
So, who has a better chance of signing Isco? The player is valued at £67.5m which is within the reach of both clubs. But if it’s the player’s decision and only one of the two teams qualify for next season’s Champions League, this is likely to factor into his decision, as will the role each manager plans to use him in. If it’sReal Madrid’s decision, money will most likely do the talking, neither club should struggle if this is the case between the money from Coutinho’s sale burning a hole in Liverpool’s pocket and Arsenal’s apparent new-found willingness to loosen the purse strings. One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a fascinating summer of transfer activity for both teams.