So, James Rodriguez has completed his £63 million move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid, who will now begin the process of selling players in order to balance their books and fall back in line with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
One of those players potentially up for grabs would be a perfect upgrade for Oscar at Chelsea. While Angel di Maria and Sami Khedira are the two stars reportedly set to make way - it must also be remembered that Real Madrid have signed German midfielder Toni Kroos this summer - the arrival of Rodriguez has also thrown Isco’s future into serious doubt.
Isco: Real Madrid’s forgotten star
Twelve months ago, Isco was the name on everyone’s lips. The diminutive playmaker played a pivotal role in helping Spain win the European Under-21 Championship in Israel, scoring three goals and securing the Bronze Boot in the process.
His stellar performances for his country came after a quite superb season for Malaga, in which he scored 12 goals in 47 appearances for the high-flying Andalusian outfit. His grace, balance and technique earned him comparisons with Barcelona great Andres Iniesta - but it was Barca’s fierce rivals Real Madrid who snapped up the then 21-year-old for €30 million.
Despite an excellent start to his career at the Bernabeu, Isco played an increasingly peripheral role as the season wore on, and eventually failed to earn a spot in Spain’s 2014 World Cup squad.
And it was at the showpiece international tournament in Brazil where James Rodriguez caught the eye of Real Madrid. By winning the World Cup Golden Boot, Los Blancos had found their new Galactico.
Oscar flattering to deceive
Looking at the options available to Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti next season - Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jese, and others - it seems likely that Isco will spend most of next season on the substitutes’ bench. Keeping such a talented player on the bench would border on criminal - but there will be plenty of clubs willing to take him away from the Bernabeu before the summer transfer window closes on September 2.
One of those clubs should be Chelsea - and this is because Isco is a better playmaker than the Blues’ current first-choice number 10, Oscar, who failed to shine when it mattered most for the west London outfit last season. He then struggled again, while playing for Brazil, at the recent World Cup finals.
Watch: Isco magic
Mourinho was happy to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United last January because he knew that, in the form of Oscar, he already possessed a match-winning playmaker. But even the wily Portuguese coach must have had a few regrets by the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Oscar’s form dipped massively in the second half of the season, with Chelsea still in contention to win their first Premier League title since 2010.
The Brazil international scored a pitiful two goals and contributed one assist in Chelsea’s Premier League fixtures between New Years Day and the end of the season - and this lack of creativity ended up costing the Blues dearly.
Spanish revolution at Stamford Bridge
Perhaps Oscar needs a healthy dose of competition to rediscover his best form. He wasn’t performing too badly when Mata was still at Stamford Bridge, after all.
Isco, though, would be a sensational addition to an already star-studded squad. And following the arrivals of fellow Spain internationals Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, the 22-year-old would have little trouble settling into his new surroundings.
A spine comprised of Thibaut Courtois, John Terry and Gary Cahill, Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic, and Isco in behind Diego Costa would be more than good enough to win next season’s Premier League title.
But Mourinho will need to act quickly.
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