It has been an unusual summer in the Spanish capital as Florentino Pérez apparently misplaced his checkbook as Real Madrid had only spent €52m on new signings this summer, more than 60% (€31.5m) of that spent on the signing Danilo from Porto.
But after a full preseason to look over his squad, Rafa Benitez has decided that he needs anther young creative talent and Real have splashed the cash on 21-year old Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan for a reported €35.5m.
Inter signed Kovacic in January 2013 for €11 million from Dinamo Zagreb, so the €35.5m fee represents a huge profit for a club that is struggling to adapt to Financial Fair Play.
But to Inter fans, the selling of Kovacic is eerily similar to the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Liverpool. A player, like Kovacic, who was not given the time to develop at Inter and blossomed into a star once he left the San Siro.
In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Kovacic made his debut for the full Croatian national team. Kovacic is set to be reunited with one of his Croatian teammates in the Real Madrid dressing room, Luka Modric.
But what does the arrival of Kovacic mean for Isco? With a midfield of Modric, Kroos and James plus now Kovacic, it is difficult to see where Isco, a fan favorite, but who has yet to lock down a regular place in the team, fits in.
Juventus have been linked with a move for Isco all summer, and considering Real Madrid’s policy over the last couple of seasons of selling (Ozil, Di Maria) to fund purchases it would not surprise me to see Isco end up in Turin. The Spanish international is valued at €40-50m which is out the Serie A champions price range. So expect to see Juve requested Isco on a one-year loan with a buyout clause for next summer or offer a package that would include Álvaro Morata in the deal to lower the transfer fee.