Arsenal are leaning towards signing Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan after a move for Gonzalo Higuain became too complicated.
According to Sky Sports Italia, the 23-year-old Argentine has emerged as manager Arsene Wenger’s first choice to lead his attack next season, as Higuain – his fellow countryman – looks to be joining Serie A champions Juventus from Napoli.
The report says that Icardi has a €94m release clause at Inter, but the club would be willing to negotiate a deal for between €50-70m.
He has a good record for his club, scoring 52 goals in three full seasons, and is still young enough to flourish under the renowned tutelage of Wenger, who has improved the games of numerous young players such as Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas.
He is currently a less accomplished player than Higuain, 28, who has played in massive games for club and country, including the 2014 World Cup final – though being considerably younger may be behind the French manager’s thinking.
The Napoli forward’s move to Juventus may take place imminently if reports linking their midfielder Paul Pogba with a world record transfer back to Manchester United, after leaving the club in 2012 are accurate – the club are said to be willing to pay over €100m as Jose Mourinho looks to enhance his midfield options.
Icardi’s wife, who also acts as his agent, has been vocal in the media in trying to engineer a move. Wanda Nara has said that numerous big European clubs are interested in her husband, including Tottenham and Atletico Madrid.
Wenger’s Arsenal arguably have the greatest need to improve their attacking options after finishing second to Leicester City in the Premier League last season.
Danny Welbeck is out again with a long-term injury, whilst there are questions over Olivier Giroud’s suitability to his role as first-choice striker.