Manchester City have lost Spanish playmaker Isco to nine-time European champions Real Madrid, according to Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal. The 27-year-old Spain senior international is now with Vicente del Bosque's men in Brazil, preparing for Sunday evening's Confederations Cup group stage match against Nigeria.
Isco, meanwhile, is off celebrating Spain's success at the recently concluded European U21 Championships in Israel. A Spanish side loaded with stars beat Italy 4-2 in the final, with Barcelona midfielder Thiago Alcantara a hat-trick hero.
"I believe he [Isco] has already signed for Real Madrid and I'm sure he'll do very well because he is a great player. He has succeeded wherever he has gone. He may cost them, but together they will have opportunities and they will seize them," the January arrival at north London told Marca.
The Guardian believes the former Premier League champions were counting on new manager Manuel Pellegrini to persuade Isco to join him at the Etihad. The two worked together at Malaga last season and City chiefs were hoping the good relationship between the two could seal the deal.
However, Madrid have made a last-minute offer, with club president Florentino Perez reportedly leading the negotiations personally. The Spanish capital side have offered €30m to Malaga and a five-year contract for the player, leaving Isco with a straight choice between the two.
The 21-year-old Malaga star enjoyed an excellent season in La Liga last season, scoring nine goals from 36 starts. He also started all eight games in the club's debut Champions League campaign, scoring three goals and creating three more in a remarkable run to the knock-out stages. A return of three goals from five games at the youth championships has cemented his position as one of the brightest talents in European football.
Isco's performances have long alerted Premier League giants, with City linked frequently. Arsenal have also been mentioned as a possible destination, after reports emerged that the Gunners' chief scout, Steve Rowley, has been monitoring the youngster for the past few months.
The Mirror also linked Tottenham and Liverpool with a move for the Spaniard, although that was last summer and given developments since, a move to either Anfield or White Hart Lane now appears unlikely.