The latest reports from Spain suggest two of the Manchester clubs' summer targets may not be arriving after all.
They are two of the brightest young midfield talents in European football. And two of England's biggest clubs are – or in one case were – reportedly interested in them. But stories from Spain suggest that Manchester City have pulled out of the race to sign Malaga playmaker Isco; while Manchester United may lose out to Real Madrid in the battle to sign Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara.
Spanish newspaper Marca is reporting that City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano and sporting director Txiki Begiristain do not see Isco as vital, when his position can already be filled by the likes of David Silva, Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure.
And while there is little doubt that incoming manager Manuel Pellegrini would like to work with the 21-year-old again, his arrival would be viewed more as a luxury than a necessity.
Having already admitted that he does not know where his future lies, and with Real Madrid interested in his services, the path may now be clear for a summer move to the Bernabeu.
Although whether that scenario ultimately becomes a reality may rest on the next move of Thiago – a long-term target of United whose position at Barcelona seems anything but secure, despite manager Tito Vilanova calling him the “future” of the Catalan club.
While we previously brought you reports from Mundo Deportivo that the 22-year-old had no intention of moving to Madrid, Marca take a different stance, declaring that talks have already begun.
With Real president Florentino Perez having previously stated that, “If Barcelona does not care as we do (about Alcantara), we’ll go for it,” it seems he has been true to his word.
Taking its information from Catalan radio station RAC1, Marca says that Real and Thiago have already begun talks about a possible move.
With a release clause of just €18million, it is no surprise a player of such talent is being so eagerly courted.
Whether Real could find a place for both Isco and Thiago in their starting line-up remains to be seen. Although in truth it seems the arrival of one would leave the other either remaining where they are or seeking an alternative move.
While City can certainly do without Isco, United could benefit considerably from a player like Thiago. Unfortunately – at least if the latest reports are to be believed – Real appear to have made their choice. It may now be down to Thiago to make his.
Would City fans still like to see Isco at the Etihad? And how big a loss would it be if United miss out to Real for Thiago?