Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has claimed his club have reached an agreement to sign Malaga midfielder Isco, in a deal reported to be worth €27m.
Manchester City have gone head to head with the Spanish giants in the race to sign the Spain Under-21 star this summer and after the tide appeared to have turned in Madrid’s favour in recent days, confirmation of a move to the Spanish capital now appears to have come from Perez.
“The club and the player have reached an agreement,” announced Perez, in statements to Spanish National Radio and reported in AS.
“Isco is one of the great players of Spain and the club’s technical staff believe he has the quality to play for Madrid. I know he is enthusiastic to come here, just as I am enthusiastic about him coming.”
The report goes on to suggest the transfer will be concluded once Isco has completed his medical, with Madrid hoping to unveil the player at a press conference early next week.
The news comes as a blow to new City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who believed he was in pole position to bring Isco to the Etihad Stadium after he enjoyed a successful relationship with him during his time at Malaga.
Yet it seems that the lure of one of Spain’s most attractive clubs proved too much for Isco to resist, as he has been assured he will be a central part of new Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti’s plans.
The move was also welcomed by Madrid right-back Alvaro Arbeloa who, speaking from Spain’s Confederations Cup camp in Brazil, said: “I am very happy with his arrival. He is a great player, young and he will bring a lot to us in the ‘creation zone’. Madrid always must have different options so that absences do not affect the performance of the team.”
Speaking to reporters at the Bernabeu earlier on Wednesday, new Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti had claimed not to have taken any part in Madrid’s transfer planning prior to signing for the club, but had still made public his admiration for Isco.
“I can just talk about the quality of this player, he is very good,” Ancelotti said. “Spain’s Under-21 side has fantastic players and he is the one with the most quality of all. He could play for any team.”
Isco’s arrival may have some knock-on affects on the rest of Madrid’s transfer business this summer. Argentine winger Angel Di Maria, reportedly a €25m target for Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United – may now be surplus to requirements.
Perez’s main target this summer remains Gareth Bale however, with an €80m plus offer reportedly still in the works at the Bernabeu.