Oh, Isco. How is this happening to you again? After spending his entire Real Madrid career threatened with being offloaded to a variety of Premier League clubs as he struggled to make the Bernabeu first team, the 25-year-old Spaniard seemed to have finally turned his life around.
Dislodging glamorous rivals like James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale to become an indispensable member of Real’s 2016-17 La Liga and Champions League-winning squad, Isco’s future as a Galactico looked secure.
But here we are again – less than a year later – and Isco is once again struggling to make the Bernabeu first team and facing the threat of being offloaded to a variety of Premier League clubs. Specifically, a variety of Premier League clubs from Manchester.
The Star claims Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has made the playmaker a priority summer signing, mainly because he wants to stop him moving to Manchester City.
Pep Guardiola’s side are apparently “frontrunners” to land Isco, but Mourinho fears this would give them a further advantage over the Red Devils in next season’s title race, so he has ordered United chiefs to bring him to Old Trafford instead.
Although Mourinho’s bosses would probably prefer it if he developed a more imaginative, tactical method of competing with City rather than simply buying all the players Guardiola wants. David Sullivan could have come up with that one.
Alderweireld left unhappy by Champions League snub
If United are being realistic, they should probably be more concerned about competing with Tottenham as the north Londoners breathe down their necks in the league table.
In that regard, Mourinho may be pleased to learn that key Spurs defender Toby Alderweireld’s future at the club is “in doubt”.
The Telegraph says the Belgian will not travel to Turin for tomorrow’s Champions League match against Juventus, having also been left out of the squad for the north London derby at the weekend.
Rather than indicating the 28-year-old’s gradual return to fitness following a three-month injury lay-off, the broadsheet suspects something more sinister is afoot.
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It believes Alderweireld is “unlikely to be happy” about the omission, and that Spurs may be considering him selling him in the summer because he has failed to agree a new contract. Man City, Chelsea and Real Madrid are allegedly “watching the situation”.
Meanwhile, former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has decided that he will manage in the Premier League next season, according to the Sun. He just needs to decide whether he will take charge at Chelsea or Arsenal. Or Watford.
Elsewhere, Newcastle failed with a last-minute loan bid to sign West Ham goalkeeper Joe Hart on deadline day (Mirror), Real Madrid left-back Marcelo believes Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar will move to the Bernabeu “one day” (Marca) and Spurs striker Fernando Llorente has cast doubt on his future at the club by admitting he misses former club Juventus “like crazy” (Mirror). He would also be a bit crazy to think he could still get in Juve’s team.