This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
When Dani Ceballos joined Arsenal on loan in the summer, the Gunners’ supporters were delighted.
The 23-year-old had just come off the back of an impressive U21 European Championship with Spain, where he was included in the Team of the Tournament as La Roja lifted the trophy, and any player who has spent time with Real Madrid will often be an asset to another side.
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However, the midfielder has struggled to live up to expectations so far at the Emirates Stadium. He has just one goal and two assists in his first 13 appearances for the north London outfit, and missed a crucial penalty against Liverpool in the League Cup on Wednesday night as Unai Emery and co crashed out of the tournament.
With Mesut Ozil being linked with a move away, Arsenal need a creative force in the middle of the park, and Ceballos just doesn’t look like he can be that man. Isco, though, could be.
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The 27-year-old, also of Los Merengues, has been linked with the Gunners in recent days, along with Juventus and Manchester City.
He could be just the playmaker they need moving forward, and his arrival would mean that Arsenal could avoid trying to make Ceballos’ short-term spell permanent – something that has also reportedly been on the table.
Such is the Santiago Bernabeu side’s abundance of talent, some of their stars get lost amongst the crowd, and Isco appears to be part of that group. The 38-time Spain international joined Florentino Perez and co for £23m in 2013, but has not started more than 30 games in La Liga in a single campaign to date.
When he has been given the chance to impress, though, he has generally done so. He has 20 goals and 26 assists in 78 league starts, which is not to be sniffed at, with him having 48 goals and 52 assists in 284 appearances in all competitions, via Transfermarkt.
Even last term, his most unproductive so far with the 13-time European champions, he averaged one key pass and 1.3 dribbles per match, compared to Ceballos’ one and 0.6 respectively in the same team, according to WhoScored.
For his country, he has particularly excelled. Despite Spain being relatively poor at the World Cup in Russia last year, Isco averaged 2.3 key passes and an astonishing 5.8 dribbles per match. Only Eden Hazard had more once the tournament had finished.
With a reported fee being €70m (£60.3m), he would not cost an astronomical price and, considering interest from giants such as City and the Old Lady, he clearly has a lot to offer.
At 27 years old, he is also in his prime years, meaning he could hit the ground running at Arsenal. Quite frankly, his signing would be a no-brainer and would be a step up on Ceballos.
He could be exactly the creator they need to get back to where they belong at the top.