Thursday, 4 April 2013


Who is he? Where does he play?

Francisco Roman Alarcon Suarez, or Isco to me and you, is Malaga's very highly rated attacking midfielder, who, at the age of just 20, has broken into Spain's full team and played over 60 times the club down on the Costa Del Sol after starting life with Valencia.

Why did Valencia get rid of him?

Despite Mestalla chiefs initially seeing him as the heir to David Silva in midfield, he failed to make the breakthrough to the first team, playing just 7 times. He showcased his talents in the B team, with Malaga seeing enough to spark his 6 million Euro release clause to purchase him in the summer of 2011, together with Joaquin, Van Nistelrooy and Santi Cazorla as the Anchovies, as they're cutely known, went a bit spend-crazy under their new Qatari owner.

How's he doing at Malaga then?

Very well, helping them qualify for the Champions League for the first time in their history in tandem with Cazorla in a magically technical midfield. The teenager played 35 times scoring 5 goals. Now, with the pesky Cazorla out of the way at Arsenal, it has yielded new opportunities for Isco, with Manuel Pellegrini seeing him the natural replacement in attacking midfield. This season, he has hit 8 goals, passed at a rate of 84% accuracy and has created 32 chances from 29 appearances, helping Malaga into the quarter finals of the Champions League and 5th place in La Liga.

He won an award didn't he?

He did. Italian newspaper Tuttosport handed him the 2012 Golden Boy award, the prestigious gong which is given to Europe's most talented player under the age of 21.

So what makes him so good then?

An ability to do pretty much anything in the final third. His 5 ft 9 inch frame allows him to burst away from the big burly defensive midfielder into the hole behind the attacker, mainly Roque Santa Cruz at Malaga, to feed him with a large array of passing. However, this year, he has amassed a rather disappointing total of just 1 assist with 3 more coming in the Champions League. This is not to undermine his work in the final third however, where he has averaged 1 created chance per game.

This year, he has added a goal-threat to his armory. He has the 8 in the league, with another 3 in Europe, mostly coming from his willingness to get shots away on the edge of the box. He has a shooting accuracy of an impressive 65% from a total of 57 shots on goal so far this season. His slight frame can also allow him to sneak into the box to support Santa Cruz to get on the end of the supply from Joaquin, Julio Baptista and co. in Malaga's midfield.

Will he leave in the summer?

He jolly well could do given Malaga are floating down the proverbial brown-coloured creek minus a paddle as they fight tough UEFA sanctions on financial mismanagement. The prospect of a European ban awaits the club, so Chelsea, Arsenal and the like await with bated breath waiting to take him to England. Whether he is ready, at such a young age, remains to be seen.

Manchester City have been repeatedly interested, but their approaches were dealt a blow as the player signed a new deal to extend his stay in Spain to 2016, also increasing his buy-out clause from 15 million euros to 30 million. But with Malaga struggling for money and the hugely talented 20 year old possibly going on a diet of no-European football, it could be worth a bid. COME ON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!!!!!!!

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