Carlo Ancelotti claims he is not focusing on a potential bid for Real Madrid playmaker Isco at present – but perhaps hinted at his interest.
Ancelotti spent two years working with Isco in Madrid, after signing him from Malaga in 2013. The 28-year-old has gone on to make more than 300 appearances in the Spanish capital.
However, he has fallen out of favour in recent years. He made just 15 starts in La Liga last season, and only 11 the year before that.
Isco was recently caught complaining about his gametime under Zinedine Zidane. The midfielder claimed he rarely completed games he started, and never got enough time to make an impact from the bench.
It led to speculation about his future, with a possible reunion with Ancelotti at Everton the latest option to emerge.
Ancelotti already signed one player from his former club, bringing James Rodriguez to the Premier League this summer. After seeing the impact the Colombian has made, he could try to lure Isco to Goodison Park as well.
However, it appears such a move is not on his mind. Speaking after Everton’s loss to Newcastle on Sunday, Ancelotti described Isco as a “fantastic player” – but not someone he is thinking about signing yet.
He said: “Isco is a fantastic player and [I have] a fantastic memory of him but now I am not, honestly, focused there.
“I am focused on an important week we are going to have to recover players and to be well prepared for the game against [Manchester] United.”
Isco available for £18m?
Previous reports have suggested that Madrid want to loan him out in January. They would include an obligation for a permanent transfer in any such deal.
Madrid are looking for an initial fee of around £18m to offload Isco, who has won 16 trophies with them.
Isco reportedly is keen to reunite with Rodriguez and Ancelotti, but even though his former boss clearly rates him, it appears he is putting his interest on hold while they face a busy schedule of games.