One of Real Madrid's most celebrated players so far this season has been a man who spent much of last year struggling to find a position in a side fully focused on accommodating Gareth Bale into the side.
Signed for a 'mere' €30 million from Malaga, Isco has finally found a regular spot in the side in the absence of the former Tottenham star, and has shone on more than one occasion, particularly in key games such as Real's impressive 3-0 win at Anfield, and the 3-1 win over Barcelona.
Isco's performances have been the main area that he has improved at the Bernabeu, having earned more regular playing time than he managed in his first season at the club. Surprisingly, he only has one goal to his name for Los Blancos this year after playing 17 games, meaning he is quite some way behind the 11 he managed in the entirety of last season.
Alongside the Spanish international's impressive showings, the arrival of James Rodriguez, playing on the right wing, has all of a sudden hinted that Premier League interest in re-signing Bale could be much more likely a possibility than it seemed a few weeks ago.
A recent Marca poll stated that the vast majority of Real fans would pick Isco over Bale on account of current from.
But despite the rise of Isco in the Real side, any departure of Bale is still going to take some convincing.
Both Manchester United, and more recently Chelsea, have been linked with bringing the player back to the Premier League in the not too distant future. The likely stumbling block would likely be that Real would want to recoup all of the money they paid out for the Welshman, with it remaining the record transfer fee for a player.
There were reports that United were in the bidding for Bale before he went to La Liga from Spurs, and currently they, backed by their recent mammoth sponsorship agreements, rather than Chelsea, have the financial clout for such a move. Further stories that Louis van Gaal is prepared to sell Angel di Maria to fund a move for Bale add a veneer of ridiculousness to the players possible Premier League return, given Di Maria's impressive start to life in England. The Blues, as well as Manchester City, would only be able to fund a move for the 25-year-old via some hefty player sales, as a result of FFP restrictions.
But with Bale now back and available for the La Liga giants after missing 4 games with a hamstring injury, and with the player scoring on his return match against Rayo Vallecano, don't be surprised if he plays his way back into the hearts and minds of Carlo Ancelotti and the Real faithful, whoever it is he displaces. And if he doesn't, Real may have already found that life without him isn't so inconceivable.