It has long been contended that Isco would be a perfect accompaniment for the Arsenal midfield. Linked before he eventually chose to move to Real Madrid from Malaga, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive since this past transfer window.
Depending who you choose to believe, a summer move to north London may well be on the cards. Not that Zinedine Zidane would countenance the same necessarily, but one of Spain’s most natural talents does need to be playing games.
Not playing second fiddle to the likes of Mateo Kovacic or James Rodriguez, with the greatest of respect. That isn’t to suggest that either of those mentioned don’t deserve a starting place too, but clearly Real’s embarrassment of riches in the midfield areas means that someone will lose out.
And that someone has, by and large, been the former “Golden Boy.”
The 23-year-old has much in common with Arsenal’s Welsh wonder Aaron Ramsey.
Both players love to get forward at every opportunity and are equally comfortable out wide or centrally. Indeed, a roving sentry is preferable for either, the licence to roam manna from heaven for their respective creative genii.
Presently, one has found favour in the bosom of his team whilst the other has had to make do with feeding on scraps whenever he has the opportunity – which naturally means that there’s a lopsided look to the comparison chart between both players.
For example, of Isco’s 18 La Liga appearances for Real Madrid, only five have been for the entire 90 minutes. Ramsey has played over 700 minutes more than his contemporary, equivalent to almost eight full games.
Despite this, there’s one stat that stands out from the rest and that is for chance creation. Ramsey’s 31 from 21 games only just shades Isco’s 29 and evidences a much more incisive element to that part of the latter’s natural game.
In all other aspects however, the Welshman scores much higher than his contemporary.
His 56 shots are more than double the Spaniard’s 27, ditto interceptions – 42 to 15.
Bursting forward into the box is the forte of both exponents but arguably Real have a far better forward line with which to take up the slack in that regard. It’s probably why Isco has only managed to grab a solitary goal so far this season.
Ramsey has been a lot more defensive but has still got involved at the sharp end when it mattered and plundered four goals. Thirty-eight tackles won is far in excess of just 17 for Isco and perhaps surprisingly Ramsey’s passing stats are so much better too.
Isco is no slouch when it comes to distribution and 738 passes in his time spent on the pitch is a solid contribution.
An 89 percent completion rate is also worthy of praise. Ramsey is just shy of that with a not insignificant 86 percent success rate, but a mammoth 1388 passes puts him right up in the top bracket in the Premier League.
In summary, it’s hard to make a judgement call on just how well suited Isco would be in the type of role that Ramsey currently undertakes with aplomb. There’s no doubting his skill set or in many respects his application but is he any better than who the Gunners already have in situ?
If his case can’t be argued to any great degree, then the £30m+ that it would cost to prise the player from the Santiago Bernabeu could surely be better spent elsewhere.
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