Zinedine Zidane has had one major consistent selection headache since taking charge of Real Madrid last month – that of whether to start Isco Alarcón or James Rodríguez. He is seemingly about to do the diplomatic thing and just sell the pair of them so as to avoid having to choose.
Spanish publication Marca is today reporting that Isco and James have both been made available for transfer in the summer as Zidane looks to free up space in his squad, possibly looking at Chelsea’s Eden Hzard and Juventus star Paul Pogba as replacements.
Both have, on their day, been vital parts of the Real machine but Zidane has apparently lost faith in the pair.
The two are reported to have been made available, not because of their playing ability in relation to their teammates or potential replacements – rather that they have had their attitudes called into question amid rumours that Zidane has become fed up with some of his more lazy players.
This was typified by the fact that they ran 11km less than victorious rivals Atlético in the Madrid derby at the weekend.
— Peña Sur California (@RmSurCalifornia) March 1, 2016
Man United have a long-standing interest in James and were looking at him during his star turn in Colombia’s march to the quarter finals of the 2014 World Cup (as were most of Europe though, to be fair).
As such, they would be interested again – especially given Ed Woodward’s insatiable hunger for pursuing big-name signings – and after so many failed attempts to land footballing superstars, this might be one that they can get over the line.
Provided, of course, that that they don’t balk at the asking price. Real paid €80million for the attacker in 2014 and believe that he has retained his market value – creating a potential obstacle for would-be pursuers.
Isco, meanwhile, could finally be set to move to England following his decision to snub Manchester City in favour of a move to the Bernabéu in 2013.
Arsenal have a well-documented interest in the Spanish international playmaker, and reportedly even made a move to sign him in January before Zidane vetoed the deal as there was not enough time to sign a replacement.
But with the manager apparently having cooled on Isco since, Arsenal could be tempted to go in with another offer – though the Marca report claims that it would take somewhere in the region of €40-45million to land the ex-Málaga midfielder.
Not extortionate by any means, just not the bargain that Arsène Wenger would have been hoping for.
The Gunners could have some competition in the form of Juventus, however. The Italian champions were linked with the 23-year-old last summer and their quest for an attacking midfielder could well see them revive their interest.
The unknown quantity of Man City under Pep Guardiola could also potentially be a destination, should the former Barcelona boss decide he wants to finally bring Isco to the Etihad.