Chelsea have had a long history with antagonists. In fact, being parvenus themselves, the embodiment of decadency of the nouveau riche, their own narrative in history is seen ostentatious and is looked down upon by the entitled elites of European football. By all means, they shouldn’t be where they are, but they are where they are, unapologetically, by the means of their means.
Jose Mourinho, John Terry, Arjen Robben, Didier Drogba, Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas, Fernando Torres, David Luiz, Nicolas Anelka, Ashley Cole, Jose Bosingwa, from the top of our head, have all had the worst wished upon them by the most genial of rivals fans. Chelsea, whose foundations have been bolstered by the irreconcilable virtues (or lack of) of their heroes, seem to have found another with wanton moral compass, but a unidirectional, unwavering will win.
Reports broke early tonight that Inter Milan have parted company with Roberto Mancini and installed Frank de Boer. Inter, much like their cross-city rivals, AC Milan, have been in a bit of rut, and Chelsea boss, Antonio Conte, making full use of the uncertainty surrounding the club, has turned his attention to Inter Milan captain, the mercurial-miscreant, Mauro Icardi.
Tony Conte was unperturbed with the impasse in the exorbitant negotiations for Romelu Lukaku, and has moved swiftly in his attempt to bag the 23-year-old Argentine, who had a more than a productive last season, scoring 16 goals and 34 appearances while playing a part in many more.
Resident Hipster, Srijandeep Das, tries to unravel Mauro “Mystery Wrapped In An Enigma” Icardi, and elaborates upon the yeas and the nays of his prospective move to Chelsea.
His tenacity on the ball is his most telling strength. An aggressive runner of the channels, he relies not only on his pace, but his guile to carve out those signature diagonal runs, picking off scraps whenever they come along his way – a trait worth its weight in gold in an Antonio Conte system. The boy’s a snarly customer, with an impressive core strength on the ball to defend it, he’s a number 9 who is capable of leading the line on his own.
An emphatic finisher from most angles, he has notched up 52 goals in just 102 appearances for the Nerazzurri, with a varied cross-section of strikes, ranging from the routine poacher’s finish to the acutely drilled in the half-volley.
His confidence can be a double-edged. In more than a fair share of occasions in Sampdoria, and later at Inter, he has been guilty of being greedy in possession. There will be splices in build-up where he will opt to take a shot on, or dive forward with steam gushing out his nostrils, when there would be a wiser, more economical option available that would contribute more in team’s collective vertical foray. This is to say, he doesn’t quite look up often enough, owing no less to the belief in his own ability. Another aspect of the game that Conte would need to add onto, is his overall defensive contribution.
He is a grafter, no doubt, when the ball is in the final third, something that Tony Conte would have half-a-eye on; however, he does lack the spatial awareness in the defensive third to assist his fellow midfielders. For all his technical ability, his passing under pressure can be a bit suspect as well – coupled with his reluctance to pass altogether.
His life off the pitch has been a bit of a side-show. The much-publicised affair with Wanda Nara – the partner of Maxi Lopez, was looked down upon by fans, peers, media and managers alike. Under the iron hand of Conte, he may find the ideal guidance to not only arm himself with crucial attributions on the pitch but learn discernment off of it. He’s exactly the mould of player Tony Conte can live vicariously through from the technical area – both like wearing their hearts on their sleeves and loathe the idea of losing.
Tactically speaking, he’d provide just the right amount of physicality, movement and incisiveness that this Chelsea side has been wanting ever since the fall of Diego Costa.
Much like the few aforementioned Chelsea legends of the yore, Mauro Icardi is a bit of a t*t. Which is to say, he plays with all the undignified grace of a man who goes out there to nothing in mind, than the intention to win. His stubbornness is his greatest weakness as it is his most redeeming trait. He’ll come to Stamford Bridge, if he does, with a mean streak and a bit of a temper.
He’s not one of those players who do well when the tide of the game is turned against them, finding avenues in frustration and frivolity than steady focus. He’s been towing the circus with him long enough, running is mouth where he shouldn’t be (read: Wanda Nara), and despite the ready flow of goals seem to suggest that the Argentine has developed thick skin for the critics – Tony Conte is one manager, whom if you let down despite him giving you a long rope, is likely to strangle you with it.
For all the undeniable talent, Chelsea would be hoping that Mauro Icardi follows the script casted by the many past players who despite and in spite of their virtues or lack of, have redeemed themselves on the pitch. With Conte, Icardi could have the perfect disciplinarian to wring out every ounce of his headline-grabbing ability.