Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has suggested the club would be happy to buy from their biggest rivals in Real Madrid.
Despite the fierce rivalry between club football’s two most powerful clubs, links between Isco and Barcelona have rumbled on for the last 18 months and have intensified since Santiago Solari’s appointment as head coach at the Bernabeu.
Could Isco swap the Bernabeu for Camp Nou? Five things to know
- Barcelona’s interest in Isco dates back to the summer of 2017.
- Isco admitted he snubbed Barcelona’s offers and instead signed a new Real Madrid deal lasting till 2022.
- Isco’s current contract has a release clause of €700m.
- Since Solari joined Madrid, Isco has played in 15 of a possible 23 games for the club.
- Tension has been clear between the pair as Isco has been left out of games and at one point refused to take the captain’s armband in Madrid’s 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow.
Isco’s lack of game time has been one of the themes of Solari’s reign at Madrid so far. His last start came in Los Blancos’ Copa del Rey second leg defeat to Levante on January 16.
This lack of regular football has been the main force for his heavy links away from the club, which Bartomeu has recently addressed.
He told Spanish radio show El Partidazo: “If our coaches asked us for a player and they want to leave Madrid, of course, we would sign them.
“But it has not happened since I’ve been here.
“There are no non-aggression pacts. Each one tries to make their team more competitive.
“Isco? For the sake of Real Madrid, I would speak with the president (Florentino Perez).”
With Barcelona having recently used academy prospects such as Carles Alena, along with new signing Kevin-Prince Boateng, in midfield, the introduction of Isco could help their midfield massively. Denis Suarez’s possible permanent transfer to Arsenal could open up a spot in the squad.
Having joined Madrid in 2013, Isco has been part of all four of the club’s Champions League-winning sides this decade. This, along with 34 Spain caps, could provide the type of skill, creativity and experience Barcelona lost when Iniesta left for Japan.
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Could Isco take inspiration from Luis Enrique?
As appealing as the move may be for Barcelona, it also seems the reigning La Liga champions would be a great fit for Isco.
Given his relative lack of first-team football since Solari’s took over from Julen Lopetegui at Real Madrid, the 26-year-old has been warned that he could lose his spot in the Spanish national team.
Speaking to AS about Isco, current Spain and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique said: “I’m a huge admirer of Isco.
“When you look at the performances at the World Cup, nobody played better than him and he has featured in most of the six games we have had since then.
“His quality and ability is not in doubt but he needs to play regularly at club level if he is to be a regular in the national squad because of the level we have.”
Along with the public advice provided by his international manager, Isco could look at Enrique’s playing career for inspiration.
After spending five years at Real Madrid, Enrique moved directly to the Camp Nou in 2001 on a free transfer. This move saw Enrique’s career flourish.
At Madrid, he had won three trophies and scored 15 league goals in five years. Across eight years at Barcelona, he bagged 73 league goals and lifted seven pieces of silverware.
Barcelona have been La Liga’s more dominant team in recent years while Real Madrid have cleaned up in the Champions League, but this may be a challenge that Isco and Barcelona would be willing to take on.