Premier League champions Manchester United are considering an approach for Manchester City target Isco. The Mirror believes the Spanish midfielder has a £30m release clause in his contract with Malaga and has also attracted attention from La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The 21-year-old playmaker has had a good season with the Champions League surprise team, scoring 11 goals and recording four assists in 40 appearances so far. The numbers are consistent with those from last season, when he managed five goals and four assists in 32 games.
And that sort of form has attracted attention from Europe's top clubs, with the Mail reporting City were leading Chelsea and Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain (PSG) in a £27m race. It now appears Sir Alex Ferguson has been monitoring the young Spaniard over Malaga's recent games, with a view to replace either Paul Scholes or Darren Fletcher.
Isco has been quoted as admitting he would consider leaving La Rosaleda if a "big" club was able to negotiate a deal with Malaga. And given the Spanish club are presently facing a financial crisis of sorts and that is unlikely to improve following the one-year (albeit one still being contested) ban on European football, it appears certain Isco is set to leave in the summer.
In addition, Malaga sporting director Mario Husillos has confirmed contact with City counterpart Txiki Begiristain over transfers for the former's players, although Isco was not specifically mentioned.
"We have [had discussions] with regard to some of our players that may be of interest to Txiki Begiristain, their sporting director," Husillos explained, while ruling out the possibility of Malaga manager Manuel Pellegrini leaving for City.
Meanwhile, Malaga remain sixth in La Liga, after slumping to a 0-1 defeat to relegation-threatened Granada on Saturday. The loss could prove problematic in their efforts to finish in a qualifying place for Europa League football next season, with both Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano set to play on Sunday. Wins for them could close the gap to a point and four points respectively, with four games still to play.