Why Isco’s New Contract Proves Football Has Gone Too Far

Following PSG splashing ridiculous amounts of cash with Neymar, Real Madrid are evidently keen not to be out-done if Isco’s new contract is anything to go by. The midfielder has signed a new five-year deal at the Spanish capital but for once, it’s not the wages that are the most interesting part. Isco will make over £100,000-a-week however, Madrid have set his release clause at an incredible £634 million.

It has been rumoured that the contract itself was signed as early as the beginning of July and both player and club have kept quiet. His bumper contract certainly has not affected his game, as the 25-year-old put in another slick performance against Manchester United in the Super Cup.

Playing at the top of a midfield diamond, Isco impressed in what was a dominant performance by the European Champions. The defensive work was covered by Casemiro and the superb duo of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric acted as the engine of the team. Isco was then left to do what he does best, free to roam the attacking third and create opportunities time and time again.

New Manchester United defender, Victor Lindelof, had a particularly bad time containing him, stepping out and being drawn into a foul numerous times. Isco was deployed behind Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, the latter who has been kept out of the team by the Spaniard since returning from injury.

With Bale’s form varying massively from game to game, his season was dealt a blow in November when he damaged tendons in his ankle. After four months out, Bale returned only to suffer another injury in a 3-2 loss to Barcelona in El Classico. In his absence, Isco stepped in and put in several impressive performances. In 2016/17, Isco managed 10 goals and eight assists in La Liga, compared to three goals and seven assists the season before.

What Isco lacks in pace and physicality compared to Bale, he more than makes up for in his technique, with brilliant dribbling, passing and creativity his main strengths. Because his game is far less about pace, he is also deployed far more centrally than Bale, playing just three out of 41 games out wide last season, with the rest as an attacking midfielder or playmaker. Not many players can keep Gareth Bale out of a team, however, the little maestro’s form has been so good, Zidane has struggled to find a reason to drop him.

Despite that, is it justified to give a £634 million release clause to a player who has only been a regular starter for half a season? It seems absurd transfer fees have become the norm this transfer window, with many fans in despair at the amount of money being thrown about. Isco himself was bought for €30 million from Malaga in 2013, four years later Everton spend the same amount on a goalkeeper from a Sunderland, a team relegated last season.

With the £100 million mark for a player being absolutely smashed by the Neymar transfer, it seems only a matter of time before we have a player on a million-a-week contract. At this point, Financial Fair Play (FFP) acts more of a deterrent rather than an enforcer, and a poor one at that. Effects of breaking FFP rules must be more severe than lowering the number of players a team can submit to European Competitions, else fees for players will inevitably continue to spiral out of control.