Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has set his sights on a January deal for Real Madrid playmaker Isco, which could spell bad news for both Manchester United & Chelsea in their rather fanciful pursuit of his Los Blancos team-mate Gareth Bale.
Wenger has been tracking Isco for some time and failed to persuade Real Madrid to part with the Spanish international last summer, along with Manchester City and Liverpool.
Isco has gone on to make that decision from Madrid look shrewd by forcing his way into Carlo Ancelotti's starting XI on a consistent basis this season, but that doesn't mean Wenger is ready to give up on another marquee signing from La Liga valued at £40 million.
City remain Isco's most likely Premier League destination
Wenger may have his sights set on bringing another top Real Madrid midfielder to the Premier League, but Isco looks far more likely to end up at the Etihad if he does fall out of favour in the Spanish capital.
That is primarily because of City coach Manuel Pellegrini, who struck up a terrific relationship with Isco at Malaga and really brought out the best in one of Spanish football's most technically gifted talents.
Wenger's efforts could mean Bale stays put
The Express believe that both Arsenal and Liverpool are determined to stop City signing Isco, a quest which if successful would surely mean Madrid would make 100% sure Bale stays at the Bernabeu.
United and Chelsea continue to be strongly linked with an incredible £90m bid for Bale, primarily because on current form Ancelotti could definitely justify picking Isco ahead of the Welsh wing wizard.
Ancelotti has an embarrassment of riches in terms of attacking midfield options, with Isco, James Rodriguez, Bale among those fighting to support Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the final third.
It remains to be seen how the experienced Italian handles that delicate balancing act, but in the long-term it still looks like Isco rather than Bale who will be eventually be made available for a blockbuster Premier League transfer, to either Arsenal, Liverpool or Man City.