Chelsea and Liverpool to compete for Mauro Icardi in January


Mauro Icardi has provided a rare bright spot in what has been a dreadful start to the 2014-15 season for Inter Milan. The 21-year-old striker has scored eleven goals in all competitions but the Nerazzurri still struggle and find themselves ninth in the table. Roberto Mancini returned as manager earlier this week and there are reports suggesting that Icardi might be not be in the Italians long term plans. This news has alerted several sides and The Express has reported that both Chelsea and Liverpool will launch £28 million offers for the youngster.

Liverpool have been accredited with an interest since the sale of Luís Suarez and Chelsea are aware of their dependence, at present, on Diego Costa. Certainly José Mourinho’s re-signing of Didier Drogba was done so with very much the short term in mind, while the signing of Icardi would be one to not only challenge for the first team but also present an option for the future.

There are few 21-year-old strikers in top flight European football with the talent and experience of Icardi and yet he still divides opinion.

His antics off the field and the well publicised relationship with his now wife, Wanda, who was previously married to friend and fellow Argentine striker, Maxi Lopez have created their fair share of headlines. Although this has never appeared to have affect on his performances on the pitch, it has had an impact on how he is viewed.

Gerardo Martino was asked about the possibility of calling Icardi for the Argentina squad earlier this season and responded by saying “I prefer to select footballers who are footballers” in what was clearly a thinly veiled attack on his conduct.

However, there is a player behind this with the potential to be one of the best number nines in Europe. The ability to play with his back to goal and drop deeper to contribute to build up play along with the equally strong ability to play on the last defender and look to run in behind, make Icardi a very modern forward with the variety to play in a number of different systems.

A good finisher, decent in the air and blessed with superb touch and technique, even at the rumoured £28 million, Icardi might just prove to be good value. His goal tally this season is finally hitting the the sort of targets that people have expected from him and although he had an off day in the Milan derby this weekend, he has been Inter’s main source of goals this season.

With this in mind it would be a surprise to see Inter willing to let Icardi leave in January but a transfer out of the San Siro at the end of the season maybe on the cards. More Serie A goals could see that price rise further and will certainly put pressure on Gerardo Martino to rethink this view on selecting the striker.

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