Isco's status at Real Madrid has taken a new twist, after reports claimed the Spaniard is having second thoughts over signing a new deal at the Santiago Bernabeu. Cadena Ser claims Los Blancos want to tie the player down to a long-term contract, but negotiations have stalled amid stories linking him with Chelsea and, more significantly, Tottenham Hotspur.
The former Malaga star was heavily linked with a move to Spurs in the summer. The Mirror reported at the time that Mauricio Pochettino was trying to lure him to White Hart Lane on loan, with an option to buy him next summer. AS backed up the claims, adding that the Argentine boss had personally approached the player to convince him to move to the Premier League.
The 24-year-old eventually opted to stay at Real Madrid, but following a struggling start to the season The Mirror claimed in October that Tottenham were still interested in luring him to White Hart Lane on loan during the January transfer window. Chelsea would also join the race if Real Madrid decided to negotiate his departure.
Cadena Ser reported recently that Real Madrid are in advanced negotiations to extend Isco's deal, suggesting that the two parties have reached an agreement for the midfielder to stay at the Bernabeu until 2022.
However, the Spanish Radio station claimed that the new deal does not rule out an exit completely. It may be part of a Real Madrid strategy to avoid losing him for a cut-price fee next summer, as his current deal expires in 2018.
Isco appeared to confirm those reports last week, suggesting that the negotiations were ongoing after scoring Spain's late equaliser against England.
"I am confident of closing out a deal soon," he told Marca after the draw at Wembley. "It does not take away much time for me and I hope I can continue for many years at Real Madrid and, of course, in the national team."
But Cadena Ser now reports a new twist in the saga that could give fresh hope to his suitors, claiming that Isco has put negotiations on hold.
The Spaniard has reportedly told the club he wants reassurances over his role at before putting pen to paper on a new contract.
Earlier this season Isco admitted he could leave the Champions League winners should he fail to establish himself in their starting eleven.
"I'm 24 and if I don't find a place in the starting line-up, I'd like to move. I know what I can do well and if not here, then I'd like to be able to do it elsewhere. I'm happy in Madrid, but what footballers want is to progress and if I can't here, I wouldn't have a problem in looking for an exit," Isco said during an interview with Cope, adding that a move to Premier League could be on the table.
"I still have time to think about it. I'm very happy at Real Madrid, but it is true that the choice of Malaga is there, it is my home. I like the Premier League a lot but I think about it as an option for the future. Now I'm only thinking about improving and working hard to earn a place in the Real Madrid line-up. "
The Spain international has taken advantage of injuries to Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park to prove his worth in recent weeks, having started the last six La Liga games while being arguably the Man of the Match in the 3-0 weekend victory over cross-city rivals Atletico Madrid. However, it is still uncertain whether he will keep this role in the team once Zinedine Zidane has all his players available.