We shouldn’t be surprised that Tottenham Hotspur are connected to just about every available (and unavailable) striker under the sun this weekend, but this story surprised me: Italian football journalist and rumormonger Gianluca DiMarzio is reporting today that Spurs are considering making a huge bid for Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi.
According to DiMarzio’s website, Spurs have sent representatives to meet with Icardi’s agent in Milan and are ready to make a €45m (£37.8m) bid. The article says that Inter don’t especially want to sell their Argentine captain, but would consider an offer if the price were right. Inter didn’t make the Champions League this past season, so there’s added incentive for Icardi if he wants to make a switch to the Premier League.
Icardi’s solidly in that young, talented striker sweet spot that Spurs seem to be targeting at the moment: he’s 23, spent some time at La Masia while a youth player, and has been a regular starter this season for Inter, which you’d expect as he’s currently Inter’s captain. He didn’t make Argentina’s Copa America squad, which isn’t that surprising considering he was behind the likes of Leo Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, and Sergio Aguero.
And his numbers are good: 16 goals in 32 games for Inter, and his xG / shot is exceptional: 14 xG from 58 shots. So he may not shoot the ball a whole lot with Inter, but his finishing is very good. That, according to Michael Caley, puts him close to some other very good strikers that we’re already familiar with.
Mauro Icardi's comps by xG + xA / 90 since 2013. Pretty good! pic.twitter.com/GhtKOxwenk— Michael Caley (@MC_of_A) July 2, 2016
DiMarzio is not 100% (no journalist is) but in terms of the Italian football media he’s probably the best of the lot and he rarely reports on things that are just made up. It’s curious, though perhaps not unsurprising, that Spurs would be making Icardi inquiries at this stage unless they’re preparing a contingency plan in case the negotiations for Vincent Janssen and Antonio Sanabria become untenable. Or maybe they’re looking to make another big splash in the transfer market after losing out on Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea.
€45m is a lot of dough for a backup striker, but Icardi has the makings of a player than can easily come in for Harry Kane and even push him for a starting place. He’s a great player and would be a very good get for Tottenham.
However, this story isn’t without problems: for starters, Inter president Erick Thohir had previously included Icardi on his list of “untouchables” that would not be sold this summer. Every player has his price, but Icardi is one that Inter probably doesn’t want to lose. For now, stay dubious (we don’t really have to tell you that, do we?) but it’s an exciting possibility.