Arsenal are preparing a £30m move to sign Malaga midfielder Isco, according to the Daily Star. The 20-year-old has been in good form this season, scoring 11 times and creating four goals in 33 appearances in all competitions. The Spaniard was on target again last midweek, in a Champions League knock-out tie against FC Porto.
It is believed the Gunners' chief scout, Steve Rowley, has been monitoring the youngster over the past few months. Arsene Wenger is expected to be given £70m to spend on transfers this summer and Isco is a key target in the Frenchman's quest to return the Emirates club to winning ways.
The player is already a full international with Vicente del Bosque's Spain and has accepted he may have to move clubs if Malaga decide to cash in on him. The club may be owned by a Qatari-based businessman but the La Rosaleda outfit is in financial turmoil and have already been punished by UEFA's new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
"My head is here and my future is in the hands of Malaga. If the club decide to sell me because they need the money, I cannot do anything. I don't have a say there. But hopefully I can stay here for many years. That is what I want. I am really enjoying it here," Sky Sports quoted Isco as saying.
Wenger faces competition for his target's signature though, with interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City. In addition, the Mirror believes both Liverpool and Tottenham are also monitoring the situation.
Nevertheless, Wenger will hope an already existing relationship with Malaga will help smooth things over. Arsenal have signed players from Malaga in consecutive transfer windows, with Spanish internationals Santi Cazorla and Nacho Monreal moving in the summer and January respectively.
Malaga Champions League Draw
Meanwhile, Malaga's exciting Champions League adventures continues with a quarter final tie against Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund. Manuel Pellegrini's side are making their debut in Europe's elite competition and have given an excellent account of themselves so far. The Real Madrid boss will hope to do at least the same against a Dortmund side that have now established themselves as one of the best in Europe.