Marcel Brands has been sent back to square one after Everton were dealt a huge blow in their search for midfield creativity with Real Madrid maestro Isco choosing to join Sevilla.
According to AS, Isco has decided to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu until the end of the season to ensure he can secure a summer switch to Sevilla and reunite with Julien Lopetegui.
The world-class Isco believes Lopetegui offered him the most support seen throughout his career whilst the Los Nervionenses coach was in charge of the Spanish national side, which coincided with his best form under Zinedine Zidane who favoured the former Malaga man over Gareth Bale in two Champions League finals.
Zinedine has since lost all faith in Isco’s suitability for Los Blancos’ efforts, resulting in the 28-year-old starting only three of his 11 appearances across all competitions this term, yet insists the £210,000-per-week maestro will not be sold in January in fear of injuries greatly reducing an already thin area of his side.
Madrid will demand between €15m (£13.5m) and €20m (£18m) for Isco at the end of the season, while word of his preference of a move to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium will likely end Everton’s alleged interest amid claims the Toffees are continuing to monitor the world-class midfielder’s situation.
Everton missing out on Isco with the playmaker and Real Madrid both intent on remaining with each other in January will come as a huge blow to Ancelotti, who is in need of greater creativity from his central options.
Gylfi Sigurdsson has stepped up admirably in recent weeks following James Rodriguez’s calf injury, yet still trails the Colombian for key passes with the summer arrival from Real Madrid continuing to lead the charts at Goodison Park with 26 from his 10 Premier League outings, per SofaScore.
Sigurdsson now ranks second with 19 to eclipse Lucas Digne (16), before Ancelotti sees a gradual decline with Abdoulaye Doucoure (12), Alex Iwobi (11) and Richarlison (10) the only additional Toffees players to boast a double-digit tally for chances created thus far.
Further, only Rodriguez (7) and Digne (5) have created more than three clear goalscoring opportunities, while Rodriguez, Iwobi and Allan are the sole members of Ancelotti’s squad to have been credited with playing the pass directly before an assist was recorded.
Rodriguez and Digne’s leading frequency at creating big chances also sees the pair top the charts for clear goalscoring opportunities fashioned per top-flight game with 0.7 and 0.63 respectively, more than double the figure of third-placed Richarlison (0.27).
Brands will now need to find alternatives for Isco in the upcoming January window in order to solve Ancelotti’s key offensive issue, or risk seeing the Merseyside outfit endure more offensive struggles like those seen at Sheffield United on Saturday.