Tug-of-war for Isco between Real Madrid and Manchester City
Real Madrid and Manchester City are engaged in a two-way tussle for the signature of Malaga’s playmaker Isco, with the latter being seen as having the upper hand in transfer negotiations. The transfer grapevine is buzzing with rumors that Man City have in fact already agreed to a deal, but Real Madrid are set to move for the Spaniard with Zidane and club president Florentino Perez putting their weight behind the deal.
THT Verdict: Isco’s stock has grown leaps and bounds over the course of the last twelve months with eye-catching performances in both La Liga and the UEFA Champions League. The Spaniard’s impressive streak has continued with a string of inspiring performances in the European U-21 championship. The scales are pretty much balanced in both clubs’ favour, in terms of the financial clout as well as presence of players in both teams who would start ahead of Isco under normal circumstances: Ozil and David Silva. Isco has stated his intentions on playing regularly;
I am proud that Real Madrid are interested, there’s no arguing that they are a big club. It is important for me to play regularly, though.
Also Real Madrid, at least for the time being, are without a manager and that on top of the fact that Pellegrini, Isco’s former manager at Malaga whom he called his ‘footballing father’ , is now Manchester City’s manager is a very much a game clincher in City’s favour.
But that does not make Real Madrid any less of a dream move, and with Ancelotti looking increasingly likely to be the next manager at the Bernabéu, doubts on the managerial front could soon be ironed out. A factor in favour of Real Madrid could be the presence of Alvaro Morata, who is another one of those taking the U-21 by storm, and Nacho in the U-21 squad alongside Isco, who he has acknowledged ‘keep going on persuading him’ on the question of joining Los Blancos. It is being understood that the diminishing Spanish contingent in the first team is something of a ‘concern’ at the club hierarchy and as such this deal could kill two birds with one stone. At any rate, this saga looks set to continue for the foreseeable future and further negotiations can only be expected once the U-21 championships are over. It looks a 50-50 for both clubs now.
Manchester United enter chase for Gareth Bale
The murmurs continue to grow that Manchester United are plotting a sensational move to bring back Cristiano Ronaldo, with Alex Ferguson apparently playing a key role. But with the stakes for next season getting higher and a transfer for Ronaldo anything but likely, the Red Devils have entered the race for Gareth Bale. Manchester United will take the pitch without Sir Alex for the first time in 27 years, and David Moyes must bolster the squad in the wake of rival clubs doing the same and send out the right signals that the Scot’s legacy is going to continue.
THT Verdict: Unlikely. Tottenham have realized that with no Champions League football, it almost certainly is time up for Gareth Bale in North London. However, Chairman Daniel Levy will not be willing to budge at a bargain price, and with Real Madrid the clear frontrunners, it is difficult to imagine how Manchester United will compete on financial terms. Off the pitch too, the lure across the border is greater. Bale could also team up with former teammate Luka Modric, who has welcomed the prospect of a reunion.
Putting things in perspective from another angle, Gareth Bale is just the kind of player Real Madrid are going to need to continue challenging Barcelona on the domestic stage and the only player who can rival Neymar’s signing. Los Blancos do not look like they will let this chance slip through.
Liverpool step up efforts for Sevilla’s Luis Alberto, remain confident on Shakhtar’s Mkhitaryan and Simon Mignolet
Liverpool’s Spanish contingent is set to rise with the club looking at Sevilla’s youth academy product Luis Alberto. The Andalusian club is resigned to lose their young starlet and major negotiations are expected next week. Liverpool are also looking towards Shakhtar Donetsk playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, priced at around 22 million euros, as the club continues preparations for life after Luis Suarez. The Merseysiders are also confident on landing Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. The deal looks set to go through after Liverpool agreed to make an improved bid on the first one.
THT Verdict: Very Likely. Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy of preferring young players in his line-up and attractive football is well known, and Liverpool have been making signings consistent with that ideology, and are doing it early. Mkhitaryan scored 25 goals from the attacking midfield role and was crucial in Shakhtar’s title charge as well as the Champions League run-in. It is indeed a surprise that no major club has moved for the talented Armenian, and that should pave the way for his transfer.
On the Spanish front, Luis Alberto is set to follow Iago Aspas to Liverpool, after the latter’s signing was all but confirmed. The attacking midfielder was impressive in his time at Barcelona B last season, and while the first bid was rejected, an improved offer is set to clinch the deal. The deal for Mignolet, on the other hand, will cast a shadow on the future of another Spaniard, Pepe Reina, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona.
Other Transfer Rumors:
- PSG have shown interest in Chelsea’s David Luiz. With PSG defender Thiago Silva in Barcelona’s sights, the Parisians’ intent could become clearer in the coming weeks.
- Luis Suarez has stated that he will want Liverpool to listen to him, should Real Madrid or Barcelona come calling.
- West Ham have indicated they want Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku on loan for the season, alongside Wilfred Zaha and even Demba Ba.
- Claudio Marchisio is heading towards Juventus’ exit door after his request for an increase in pay was denied.