For well over a week now the Everton rumour mill has been churning furiously ever since multiple media sources broke the news that Real Madrid star Isco Alarcón remains in manager Zinedine Zidane’s doghouse. More than that, it’s been reported that his former manager Carlo Ancelotti is interested in bringing him over to Merseyside to join another former teammate James Rodriguez who has resurrected his flagging career with the Blues.
AS, via the Daily Mirror, seemed to indicate that Real were happy to sell the player who has dropped to the fringes in Madrid to finance a move for Kylian Mbappe next summer. He has only made six appearances this season for Zidane, and 18 starts all of last season.
While Ancelotti was in charge for the two seasons between 2013-15, Isco was a key member of the Madrid side that swept all before them, featuring in 53 games each season and picking up 39 goals plus assists in those two campaigns. What will be most interesting for Everton fans was the Spaniard’s versatility, as he slotted in comfortably as a left winger in a 4-4-2, and just as well in a midfield role in a 4-3-3 formation too.
With Richarlison out, Everton have struggled with using Bernard and Alex Iwobi to replace him on the left wing of the 4-3-3 especially while Ancelotti refuses to acknowledge Anthony Gordon as first XI material. In a 4-4-2, it’s been the same trio of players out on the left with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin up top.
The 28-year-old Isco is right footed, and will mirror the threat James poses, cutting in from the opposite wing with his ‘wrong’ foot. During the Blues current slide, we’ve also seen Andre Gomes and Gylfi Sigurdsson continue to be the weak links in a three-man midfield where Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure have been doing all the heavy lifting.
There is no doubting the quality of Isco - 12 goals in 38 caps for Spain, along with over 400 games for Real Madrid that have seen him lift every single trophy available to a club player in Spain, multiple times.
When James was first linked with the Blues, there were concerns about his age and what he would cost both in transfer fees and in wages. Everton appear to have managed that situation with some creative accounting while cashing in on the Colombian’s worldwide appeal. While Isco is not at the same level of stardom, a similar feat of financial voodoo to make the Spaniard a Toffee will go a long way towards elevating the club’s starting lineup to an elite level that hitherto only a handful of teams in the Premier League can boast of.
Zidane acknowledged to the media that the player has not necessarily been in his plans so far, but pointed out that was more due to how he was using him than a reflection on the player’s effort.
“What Isco has to do is to keep working. It’s not a problem of Isco, it’s a problem of the coach.
“He has to keep doing what he’s doing. I’ve insisted on that. It’s a complicated moment for him, but he has also had good moments. He’ll keep showing that he’s a good player.”
Per Marca yesterday, there has been no contact between the two clubs despite there being plenty of smoke. They seem to think the player will not clamour for a move in January with just one more year left on his current contract, and will play out the season before deciding what to do next despite not getting much game time.