Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that Tottenham made a bid to sign Isco from Real Madrid in 2016.
Tottenham visit Real in the Champions League on Tuesday, with Isco set to play a starring role for the hosts.
The Spaniard emerged as a key player for the European champions last season, but had previously struggled to establish himself in the first team.
Spurs made a bid for his services at the start of the campaign but were rebuffed, and Isco would go on to feature heavily under Zinedine Zidane.
“Every coach wants to sign the best players,” Pochettino said when asked about his Isco bid. “And Isco is proving he is one of the best players in the world.
“We have known about him for a while, I have seen him in different clubs in his career, and he has always been a player with great creativity, great capability, beyond the average.
“He is a player who has reached his maturity at this great club, and obviously he is a player we must take into account when we play against him. His magic and quality are absolutely obvious.”