Mauro Icardi has emerged as a top target for Chelsea in the January transfer window, with owner Roman Abramovich keen to bring the Argentine to Stamford Bridge.
The Blues have been publically searching for a striker for a while now, with Maurizio Sarri affirming this with his desires for a fresh face up top, following Olivier Giroud’s struggles with injury and Alvaro Morata’s battle for consistent form.
Moves for Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson and Juventus’ Gonzalo Higuain, who is on loan at AC Milan, have also been mooted.
However, according to The Mirror, Icardi is now the club’s number one target, with the Pensioners owner Abramovich leading the push to sign the 25-year-old. The striker has been engaged in contract extension talks with the Nerazzurri since last summer, but as of today he is yet to sign a new deal.
His current contract is set to expire in June 2020 and he and his wife, Wanda Nara, who is also his agent, have been pushing a hard bargain with the Milanese club. They have already refused one offer of €6m a year, asking instead for a whopping €8m pay package, which is double his current salary.
A large part of these contractual issues centre around the existence of a £100m release clause. The club are desperate to eliminate any clause from his next deal, while the player and his representative are fighting to have it included, even if it is at an increased price.
For his part, Inter‘s sporting director, the former Juventus executive Guiseppe Marotta, is optimistic about reaching an agreement with the player, and is set to commence talks in person next week, after a tempestuous festive period of public outbusts and leaks from the player’s camp.
However, as it stands, the £100m release clause remains a viable option for Abramovich and co, as well as for potential rivals Real Madrid and Juve, who’ve been sniffing around the Inter captain for some time. Icardi has 13 goals and two assists so far this season, with his side sitting third in the Serie A table.