In pictures: Copenhagen v Man Utd
Manchester United and Arsenal, among other Premier League outfits, have been left-raced for opting not to pursue Isco over the summer. The midfielder instead joined Real Betis as a free agent and has been in sensational form for the Spanish outfit in all competitions, with his assist in the Europa League showcasing what other clubs missed out on.
Isco has been linked with a move to England on numerous occasions throughout his career, especially towards the end of his nine-year spell with Real Madrid. However, potential suitors were frequently priced out of signing the playmaker, weary of how he has been susceptible to injuries previously.
The Spain international spent the opening six months of last season with Sevilla before his contract was mutually terminated and he then remained as a free agent up until the summer. Plenty of clubs looked to pounce to acquire the services of the ex-Malaga star when the transfer window opened, with Union Berlin among those who came close to securing his signature.
Eventually, Betis managed to sign Isco on a short-term contract after convincing him that they would be able to get his career back on track – with no Premier League clubs even putting up a fight, despite the likes of Arsenal, United and Liverpool all being long-term admirers and in the market for midfield reinforcements.
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The La Liga side have stuck to their word, and the playmaker’s scintillating form has raised questions about why no English outfits were willing to take a chance on the 31-year-old. Isco has scored two and assisted two for Betis in 12 La Liga appearances since his move, though those tallies undervalue just how important he has been in the heart of Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
The midfielder has also shone on the European stage, and his assist on Thursday night only highlighted further what he has to offer. With Betis 3-1 up against Aris Limassol, the ball was pumped long to Isco down the left with the expectation that he would run down the clock.
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However, Isco did not read the script and proceeded to play an audacious volleyed backheel over the heads of the Limassol backline and into the path of teammate Ez Abde. The winger made no mistake from close range to put the icing on the cake for Betis, with Isco receiving plenty of praise from his teammates during the celebrations.
The midfielder will, once more, become a free agent at the end of the season and it remains to be seen whether Premier League clubs will have learned their lesson over the course of the campaign and push to sign him in 2024.
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