Every couple seasons or so, Tottenham finds itself connected to a White Whale — a player that everyone wants at the club, but due to any number of circumstances (usually money ) never will actually make the move to north London.
For the last year or so, that honor has fallen to Real Madrid’s Isco. The press and Tottenham’s fans continue to spin the rumor as transfer windows approach, all in some vain attempt to make it finally come true.
Now, it seems, that dream appears to be about to burst. News that Isco will sign a new contract for Real came on Tuesday, per Marca. It appears as if a string of fine performances for Zinedine Zidane’s side over the last — four goals and an assists over his last four starts — re-sparked the club’s interest.
Even if the 25-year-old wasn’t enjoying a blue streak and thus remained an option for Spurs, it would be unclear what, if any, value he would add.
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Does Mauricio Pochettino really need another creative attacking midfielder in the squad? If Spurs were to pay out the astronomical sum inevitably demanded for the Spain international, who gets dropped to make room for him?
This questions is especially relevant as all of Spurs’ current attacking midfielders are in the midst on hot streaks of their own. What Spurs fan, after watching Christian Eriksen over the last five days, Heung-min Son over the last month and Dele Alli over the last season really believes that there is an Isco-shaped hole at the heart of Tottenham’s attack? And that’s not even getting into what happens when Érik Lamela is healthy again.
That clearly there are Spurs fans who yearn for a bit of Isco speaks more toward the desire for a big name signing than the actual needs of the squad.
Such a contrast itself reflects what could be called an existential crisis happening at Tottenham. The club’s status continues to increase as they hunt for the Premier League title for the second season running. With a young squad committed to long term deals along with their manager, there’s no telling just how high Spurs’ star will rise.
How does their ever-growing reputation affect their transfer policy though? Are they still a club who recruits what they need and no more? Or are they part of the elite that signs the best player available, regardless if he’s needed or not?
Pochettino is a blunt man, and many times before made it clear that he prefers squad harmony over virtually all else. Inviting a player of Isco’s ability and stature would only disrupt that harmony. Either an equally qualified Spurs veteran gets dropped to accommodate him, or Isco moves to another club only to find himself once again consigned to the bench.
If Spurs are going to spend the kind of money needed to pry Isco from Real, then it should be in a position in which they actually need depth. Another experienced direct attacker in the vein of Son would be great, as would an additional man to cover Victor Wanyama now that Eric Dier is once again a centre-back.
What Spurs emphatically don’t need is another craft string-puller like Isco. Even if somehow the Spainard doesn’t sign a new contract with Real, don’t expect him to make a move to Spurs.