Reports Suggest Chelsea and Liverpool are in a £32m battle to poach Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan.

Mauro Icardi has already become one of Inter’s key men and has 19 goals in 40 games for the Nerazzurri since moving from Sampdoria in 2013. However, he has been repeatedly linked with an exit to raise funds if Inter fail to qualify for the Champions League again. According to the Daily Star, Chelsea are now the favorites to take Icardi to the Premier League, even though Liverpool were interested first. The 21-year-old is a former product of the Barcelona youth academy.

Despite only playing two full seasons of first-team football to date, Icardi has already become one of the most feared marksmen in Serie A and a target for some of Europe’s biggest clubs. Icardi is lethal in front of goal, capable of dispatching half-chances with his right foot, left foot or head. He is a true penalty-box poacher, frequently finding a yard of space in crowded zones or losing his marker to create just enough room to get a shot away.

Icardi claimed he would be happy to sign a new contract with Inter back in October, but whether he will actually do so remains unclear. The Nerazzurri’s troubling season – Roberto Mancini’s side are stuck in mid-table and remain some distance off the Champions League places – may have changed Icardi’s mind, and there have been noises coming out of Inter that they may be tempted to cash in on their star striker should a lucrative offer arrive. Liverpool, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid are just three of many clubs to be linked with the Argentine in recent months. At just 21, time is on his side, but like all ambitious young players, Icardi will not want to wait forever to test himself at the highest level. Reports suggest that Icardi is not keen on a move to La Liga and would much prefer a move to England. And it is thought that Jose Mourinho could grant Icardi his wish in January, with suggestions that the 21-year-old is a young talent who can offer something different to those already in the Chelsea squad. Inter are very reluctant to let Icardi leave in the near future, but may contemplate a sale to fund moves for Spurs’ Erik Lamela or PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Earlier this month Inter director Piero Fassone said: “I’ve learned that no player is off the market in football, it doesn’t work that way. It’s possible to keep Icardi and Kovacic although there are other clubs have more appeal than us. Inter can compensate with the motivation we give players, with the opportunity to grow that we can give them.”