Malaga starlet Isco looks set to leave his club this summer, with Manchester City and Real Madrid leading the chase for the youngster.
Madrid's activity in the transfer market can now officially start with new manager Carlo Ancelotti in place and club president Florentino Perez believes they will soon sign the youngster. He recently stated: "If all goes well, we can announce his [Isco] signing soon, always after announcing the coach."
Malaga, until their 2010 takeover, had long been Spain's perennial 'yo-yo' club with the Andalusian club often gaining promotion to La Liga only to return to Liga Adelante the next year, however since the influx of finance provided by Sheikh Al Thani the club has gone onto great success which culminated in reaching this season's European Cup quarter final.
Unfortunately this is likely to be where the golden trail ends with Malaga currently in the midst of deep financial difficulty with the club being forced to sell the majority of their better players - including Isco.
Isco will be fondly remembered at Malaga as the young talent who really made his mark at La Rosaleda - with supporters long knowing it would only be a matter of time before they had to surrender the jewel in their crown to the highest bidder.
Sheikh Al Thani however, has not ignored the adulation gained by Isco from the supporters and confirmed yesterday on his official Twitter page that the shirt number 22 -which Isco wore for Malaga - will be retired. He tweeted: "shirts No . 22 will not be available to any other player in the Malaga cf courtesy to the player Isco."
This is a rather bold move considering Isco's age and relative inexperience with the club but such is the impact he had on the club and its supporters.
Whilst we await official confirmation of this decision taken by Al Thani to appear on Malaga's official website we now know for sure Isco will be leaving Malaga with it expected that the Euro under 21 Championship winner will be in Madrid later this week to formally complete his move to the Santiago Bernabeu.
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