In case James comes back, who should Real Madrid sell? Is it the bandy legged magician, Isco? Is it the golden boy,James? Or is it the long shot specialist Asensio?
First things first, keeping three players of very close characteristics is going to be very difficult for Real Madrid. They could not do it earlier and it's highly likely that they won't be able to do it next year. So, they will have to sacrifice one of their treasured possessions, albeit with a heavy heart.
Keeping James is a no brainer. When he was given priority by Don Carlo he produced a 17+17 goals/assist season, winning the best midfielder in La Liga award. It went downhill after that. But that was due to Madrid's use of 4-3-3 formation that emphasised the wings. James is not a winger. Last season he showed us what a great number 10 he is. He had the most key passes in Bundesliga. He is still one of the best decision makers in the world. James Rodriguez possesses one of the most wicked left feet in the world, making him a threat from anywhere in the final third. Our attack and midfield lack creativity and incision. Kroos and Modric are more of controlling mids rather than creative mids. Having Isco in the mix only increases the number of controlling midfielders. It's as if having tons and tons of carbohydrate and zero protein. James can provide us with the protein, i.e, the goal threat from either goal itself or assists.
As mentioned earlier, Isco is more of a controller. He has better dribbling, better press resistance and better work rate than James. But we already have these in Kroos and Modric. If Modric is sold next summer and Kovacic doesn't come back, we can field all three of James(CAM), Isco(CM) and Asensio(LW). Other than that, it makes sense selling Isco. But there's a catch.
Real Madrid is in a dire need of a striker. A breed that's really expensive these days. No team sells there premier goalscorer for less than 150 million these days, unless the team is Real Madrid( which sold a 50 goals per season unicorn for a bag of chips). Madrid will want to raise some money from the sale of a midfielder to buy a goalscorer. Isco clearly won't bring the money. Asensio could. Asensio hasn't turned out to be the player we expected him to be. His preferred position is still unknown. He is too slow to be a winger, lacks the incision to be a number ten, his long shot is wasted when deployed as a CM. He was one of the top three youngsters in the world. But at the age of 22, we would have expected him to perform much better than he is now. His good qualities include decision making and long shot, both which James Rodriguez also has. Yes, he is better fit than Isco, younger than Isco and has a higher ceiling than Isco. But he also has a better hype, which could generate a huge sale. If his sale funds the purchase of a 30+ goal/season striker, why not?
THE VERDICT: If Asensio can be sold for more than £150 million, then Asensio should be sold. Other than that, it's Isco.
- Hala Madrid