Competition for the top places in the Italian Serie A has been a bit more interesting than expected this season, with Juventus, Roma and AC Milan failing to meet expectations while Napoli and Inter Milan have jumped to the top of the pile and lead the title chase. Speaking of the latter, the Nerazzuri can thank striker Mauro Icardi for being the centrepiece of their campaign (again), by scoring 15 of their 28 goals through 14 league games.
The Argentinian's form has caught the eyes (again) of some of Europe’s richest clubs (again). According to Spanish newspaper AS, Chelsea along with Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich are keen (again) on adding the 24-year-old to their ranks. Again.
Icardi's current contract runs out in June 2021, and it includes a €110 million release clause. It is probably not coincidence that rumours of a contract extension have poppe up at the same time as rumours of transfer interest from abroad did. Inter are supposedly working on extending the deal to 2013, and improving Icardi’s wages from €5 million to €7 million per year.
Needless to say, Icardi would be a significant and welcome addition to any team, even Chelsea who are already well served with Álvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi as first-choice and backup striker, and Eden Hazard as a shadow striker in the currently favored 3-5-2 setup. It might be unnecessary to spend ludicrous amounts of money on a position of non-need, but it would be fun.
In short: Chelsea (and the other big teams) are once again just being used as leverage in negotiations between Inter and Icardi’s agent (who also happens to be his wife). Here she is to make it quite clear where they stand: pay up or face the consequences.
“Mauro is an important player and clubs [such as Chelsea and Real Madrid] are the ones who have followed him for a while. It is fair that a striker like him, one of the best #9’s in the world, has big clubs interested in him and which value him highly. Both Mauro and Inter have to be grateful for that.”
“[...] I prefer not to name who calls me. I am the one who handles these things, while Mauro thinks about Inter and he is happy to be here. The [Inter] board know he refused teams that other players would never have refused because in his heart, he has the black-and-blue colours [of Inter]. I am not going to deny that there are a lot of clubs interest in his services, more than what has been reported...”
“[...] It is difficult to say whether [he will stay at Inter] because in football, you never know what can happen. He has a contract and he thinks on winning with Inter. He is happy and he wants more.”
“[...] [On a new contract,] you would have to ask the club. The directors are the ones who should ponder on whether the current contract is good and what they want to do. He is an Inter player, their captain and he always demonstrated his love for the club. If the club wants to change something in the contract, it is their decision. What is Icardi’s value? At least, €200 million.”
-Wanda Nara; source: Corriere dello Sport via AS
Hope you were sitting down for that valuation.