Phil Neville was in Spain today watching Rayo Vallecano beat Getafe 1-0 and according to The Mirror, it was primarily to look at 19-year-old attacking midfielder Saul Niguez.
However, according to The Telegraph, Neville also talked with Spanish scouts and made enquiries about Atletico Madrid’s Koke, Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera and Real Madrid duo Isco and Asier Illaramendi.
Sorry Phil, you’re barking up the wrong tree with Isco and Illaramendi. The pair joined Madrid in the summer for a combined total of over €60 million and have settled in well to their new surroundings in the Spanish capital. In Sami Khedira’s and Xabi Alonso’s absence, Illaramendi has made 22 appearances while Isco has made 24, scoring eight goals and bagging five assists along the way. At times, he has put Gareth Bale in the shadows.
Both players would have been brilliant for United but we missed the boat last summer. The duo had a brilliant European Under-21s Championship with Spain, with Isco in particular catching the eye for his displays, and were available after the tournament but we didn’t make a move.
Now, less than a season into their first year, there isn’t a chance they would want to leave and even if they did, Madrid would slap mind boggling fees on their heads given how much they have improved since joining for over €60 million, so we wouldn’t pay that much.
Just like with Cesc Fabregas in the summer, United would be wasting their time with any sort of movement on Isco or Illaramendi because they aren’t going to leave.