Manchester United and Chelsea could see their hopes of signing Gareth Bale dashed if Premier League rivals Arsenal can get their way with a club-record £64million move for one of Real Madrid's brightest young stars.
According to the Daily Express, Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal were heading for a £100million stand off as both are keen on acquiring the services of the Wales international, but the intervention of Arsene Wenger could possibly scupper any plans for a word record deal.
The report claims that the Arsenal boss is considering a move for Bale's teammate Isco and that the Santiago Bernabeu may well be convinced to sell. Plenty of playing time for both the young Spaniard and the former Tottenham Hotspur man is unlikely under Carlo Ancelotti's current system.
Isco has got the Real Madrid fans on his side too apparently, with the report claiming that a recent poll showed they would prefer him in the side to Bale. The Spain international's tactical intelligence and superior team play are posited as possible reasons for this preference.
Arsenal would have to pay in the region of £64million if they wanted to land the former Malaga youngster and could get some serious opposition. Manchester City are mentioned as possible suitors in the report, with Manuel Pellegrini's relationship with the playmaker stated as a strong bargaining chip - he was in charge of Isco at Malaga.
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Such a fee would prove to be a club record for the Gunners and the report claims that Wenger is prepared to splash out that much for a player he tracked a great deal before his eventual move to Real Madrid.
Manchester United and Chelsea will have to divert attention elsewhere if an Isco deal becomes possible, as there would only be one choice between him and Bale if it came down to it, among the club officials at least.
Bale's global marketability far exceeds that of Isco's and this will likely be the deciding factor there comes a point where it's one or the other. Van Gaal and Mourinho will have to revise any transfer plans and direct their respective £100million-sized piles of cash elsewhere.