Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is preparing to spend big in order to lure Internazionale’s star striker Mauro Icardi to the Emirates.
Arsenal are in the market for a top quality striker to provide competition to Frenchman Olivier Giroud up front. Their primary transfer target had been Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain, who scored 38 goals in 42 games for Napoli last season. The Gunners were even ready to offer Giroud in exchange, but they were recently overtaken by Serie A Champions Juventus, who have reportedly made a massive offer to their Italian rivals for Higuain.
The Gunners are now interested in another top Serie A striker to satisfy their needs, and have reportedly approached the agents of Inter captain Mauro Icardi. The two parties are set to meet in London next week at the request of Arsenal’s representatives, according to renowned Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio.
A potential transfer fee of £45 million, with as much as £6 million-per-year as wages, could be discussed as Icardi’s wife Wanda Nara will head the negotiations from the player’s side, according to Italian paper Gazetta dello Sport. The report further claims that Napoli are also interested in Icardi to fill the void if Higuain was to leave.
However Inter have previously stated that their 23-year old captain is off the market, and the club has no intention of entering negotiations for Icardi.
While Arsenal fans are excited about the potential arrival of the La Masia graduate, a closer look at the statistics does some justice to the much maligned Olivier Giroud. Both Icardi and Giroud scored 16 goals last season, but the latter has two more assists than the former. The Argentine has a greater shot accuracy though, with 58% of his attempts being on target compared to Giroud’s 54%. [Stats courtesy of Squawka.com]
However, Icardi is 6 years younger than the 29-year old Giroud, and he could develop into one of the best strikers in Europe under the right manager. Arsene Wenger has a gift for developing young players and Arsenal have a knack for getting the best of former La Masia youngsters, with Cesc Fabregas and Hector Bellerin as prime examples. The purchase of a young, raw talent in Icardi could be Wenger’s parting gift to the Gunners in what may be his last season in charge.