Arsenal’s search for a striker continued till the end of the transfer window when after being linked to almost everybody available during that time, Arsene Wenger opted to sign Lucas Perez for £17m. Perez has so far looked like a bit of a wild card but let’s be clear about something here, the former Deportivo La Coruna man is a very good player who has certainly enhanced the squad but needs a bit of time get completely settled in and adapted to life in England.
In the summer, Arsenal were heavily linked with Alexandre Lacazette and then Mauro Icardi. The Argentine striker’s agent and wife Wanda Nara even traveled to London to have a meeting with representatives of both Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
However, the move did not materialize and the player decided to sign a new contract on 7th October at the San Siro with an improved salary till 2021 with the club inserting a £99m release clause to confirm his immediate future at the club. The Gunners have lacked a clinical goalscorer who displays the instincts of a predator in the box and has pace.
Olivier Giroud has done brilliantly since he signed for Arsenal and is an efficient goalscorer whose runs inside the box are as good as it gets. Nevertheless, the big Frenchman lacks pace and that creates some problem while playing against a high defensive line with quality defenders. Mauro Icardi is the sort of player who combines brilliant finishing with enough pace to outrun defenders. Having scored 53 goals in 96 Serie A games with Inter, the player is more than capable of hitting the back of the net when a chance arises.
After signing the contract any sort of speculation about the future of the forward were simply put to rest but recently there has been a strange situation which has escalated pretty quickly.
In what can be only called as digging up things which seems to be buried for good, Icardi, in his autobiography released a few days back, mentioned his nasty altercation with one of the Ultras of the Nerazzurri. Some of the words that were exchanged were very serious and has not gone well with some sections of the supporters.
The verdict though has divided the fan base but the most vocal and violently passionate group the ‘Curva Nord’ is against Icardi to make matters worse. Last Sunday against Cagliari, Icardi won a penalty in the 24th minute but failed to convert it. In what can be termed only as bizarre, some home supporters openly mocked their captain feeling happy to see him suffer. Inter lost the game despite taking the lead and Icardi had a bad day on the pitch seemingly getting affected with the hostile reception from half of the fans at San Siro.
Inter have maintained their stance of punishing the club’s captain for the comments he made in his book according to the club’s internal regulations which is likely to include a hefty fine. Javier Zanetti has also expressed doubts over the player remaining as captain after the incident.
All these might force the striker to look to a move elsewhere and therein lies the chance for Arsenal. The Gunners were prepared to offer £30m plus Olivier Giroud to Inter Milan in exchange for the Argentine and that puts them in a strong position to negotiate if the saga forces the player out of Milan. A player having the finishing ability of Icardi who has captained Inter at 22 will be someone capable of leading the Arsenal frontline effectively for a long time.