Since his June arrival at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has wasted little time in shaping his squad for a crack at the Premier League title next season.
But despite spending close to £50m on only two players in Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, the new City chief will be ruing his failure to tie up a deal for Malaga starlet Isco, 21.
The attacking midfielder, who lit up this summer’s Under-21s European Championships with three goals en route to Spain’s claiming of the title, now looks Real Madrid-bound, after the Citizens for so long appeared to lead the chase for his signature.
Due to their financial situation, Malaga simply cannot afford to turn down a £20m bid for their prize asset, who appears destined to follow the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta into global superstardom.
And thus, soon-to-be-unveiled Carlo Ancelotti will complete a bargain first signing as Los Blancos chief, duping Pellegrini in the process.
Isco’s decision to remain in Spain is doubly disheartening for the new City boss, who nurtured the playmaker into a first-team regular during his time at the helm of the Anchovies.
But he could quell his disappointment at missing out on the coveted prospect by nabbing another Real target, namely Liverpool’s Luis Suarez.
Indeed, Isco’s imminent arrival at Santiago Bernabeu somewhat negates their need for added dynamism in the final third of the pitch.
And whilst Suarez would remain a welcome addition for the nine-time European champions, it is unlikely that the securing of his signature will now be a top priority.
By contrast, City are desperate to bolster their attacking ranks, and see Uruguayan international Suarez as the type of game-changer that can swing a title race one way or another.
With boundless financial reserves, the Sky Blues have put together a £35m package to try and tempt the Reds to do business, but whether or not Suarez would move to another English club is uncertain.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.