Every few years, there is a player who is linked with Arsenal every summer. David Trezeguet, Sebastian Frey, Philippe Mexes to name but a few.
Now that player is Isco. The Real Madrid midfielder has long been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu and Arsenal are an often mooted destination.
There would some symmetry if he were to move to north London. He made his name with Malaga after Santi Cazorla left to move to Arsenal and the injury problems which has beset Cazorla recently could trigger the move for Isco once again.
The someone who profits from Cazorla’s problems is seemingly always Isco eventually.
It’s not that simple, of course. For a starter, the move involves Real Madrid and nothing with them is ever simple. Isco cost them €30m back in 2013; they will no doubt ask for double that if Arsenal ever moved for him.
Florentino Perez proved stubborn in the summer when asking for an inflated fee for Morata; that’s likely to shape his view over Isco. That changes the angle on the midfielder; is he worth that much?
That question is very much answered after considering whether he is the right type of attacking midfielder the squad needs. His career was forged in the Bergkamp role; creative but with an eye for goal. He’s never been prolific though; 12 goals in 2012/13 remains his best tally yet.
Certainly, of all the names mentioned in conjunction with replacing Cazorla, Isco is the closest style. Isco is capable of mixing his game in the same way Santi does; quick bursts of pace are as close to second nature as a sweeping pass to a colleague.
The same could be said of Jack Wilshere but there are clear differences between Isco and Wilshere. Currently on loan at Bournemouth and by all accounts playing effectively for the Cherries in the Number 10 role, Wilshere made no secret of not liking the deeper role.
Despite this many see his future there and with Mesut Özil on the verge of a new deal, a vacancy in the attacking midfield role isn’t about to open any time soon.
However, Jack’s self-confessed problem is inviting fouls by holding onto the ball for too long. He admits it’s a flaw in his game that he is working to correct.
In the thick of it in central midfield, it’s a huge risk and Arsenal need someone who releases the ball quickly and provides a strong attacking prompt at pace. That is Isco’s forte, it is Cazorla’s strength and something we’ve seen recently that Arsenal miss dearly.
Wilshere and Isco are similar players in many respects but with Wilshere openly stating that he prefers the more advanced role, Isco is shaping to become the ideal replacement for Cazorla with every passing day.