Isco to Arsenal: Real Madrid midfielder 'growing frustrated' with lack of playing time and linked with £29m move

Arsenal are in the hunt for a midfielder in a bid to ease their injury concerns, although Isco would not fit the defensive role left by Francis Coquelin's absence

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The Independent Football

Arsenal could face a battle with Chelsea and Manchester City for Real Madrid midfielder Isco in the summer as he grows increasingly frustrated with the lack of playing time he is receiving under Rafa Benitez, according to reports.

The 23-year-old Spain international has only made nine starts this season and has not started a La Liga match since the 3-2 defeat by Sevilla on 8 November, with Benitez reverting to the tried-and-tested formation of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale in attack with Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos tucked in behind.

Recently, Benitez recalled James Rodriguez to his preferred line-up, and it’s left Isco way down the pecking order at the Santiago Bernabeu in a season that is quickly turning into a nightmare – Real are five points behind joint-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and have been disqualified from the Copa del Rey for fielding an ineligible player against Cadiz.

According to The Sun, Isco is deeply unhappy with his role at Real and fears for his chances of playing at Euro 2016 next summer, and it could lead to a January move from the Gunners with Real believed to be willing to accept a fee in the region of €40m [£28.9m].

However, despite Arsenal’s midfield being seriously depleted due to injuries suffered by Francis Coquelin, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Mikel Arteta among others, the Independent understands that Arsenal will not move for an attacking-minded player in January. The emphasis is on bringing in a player capable of filling Coquelin’s role in the team, and Isco does not fit the defensive midfield position that Wenger is seeking to strengthen.

With a relative lack of options to pick from in January – Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and William Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon have been mentioned – Wenger could seek a short-term loan move to see his side through to the end of the season.

But if Real make if common knowledge that Isco is available, Arsenal could yet move for the former Malaga midfielder come the end of the season.