Paris Saint-Germain are in limbo. With Edinson Cavani’s contract set to run out in the summer of 2020, they will need someone to make up for his absence. Mauro Icardi is on loan from Inter and is on fire. The club has to make that move a permanent one, no matter what.
Icardi’s move to PSG came in controversial circumstances. Antonio Conte had made it clear that Icardi wasn’t part of his plans, despite the Argentine’s constant insistence. After weeks of pushing and meetings, Icardi did move on loan to PSG on deadline day much to everyone’s surprise.
There were questions about whether he would play regularly or not. But getting Icardi in has helped PSG address the transition period involving Cavani. The Argentine has been playing on a consistent basis, scoring goals and very much relegating Cavani to the bench.
In Ligue 1, Icardi has made a total of 19 games for the club. He has picked up 11 goals, while also racking up three assists. In the UEFA Champions League, he has played six games and has five goals. Thomas Tuchel didn’t give him a start against Borussia Dortmund recently, but it led to a 2-1 loss in which the PSG attack looked toothless for a vast majority of the game.
The Barcelona youth graduate has overperformed on his XG by 0.46, taking 2.53 shots per game. That is his lowest tally in league competition since the 2015-16 season when he had scored 16 goals while taking 1.97 shots per game.
It was only last season when Icardi hadn’t overperformed on his XG. It was a rather tumultuous one, as the Argentine had fallen out at Inter and was tripped off captaincy ahead of a Europa League game. This led to him playing much less and not playing as well as he could. His absence had seen Lautaro Martinez step up.
Icardi’s overperformance on XG shows that he’s a very reliable goalscorer. The 27-year-old benefits from the creativity he has behind him at PSG. Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria make sure that he doesn’t have to come deeper to take the ball forward. He has to work the back-line and get at the end of crosses or passes.
Which is why he has come up with 0.3 dribbles per game this season and has 0.6 key passes per game only. Those are the lowest tallies of his career and gets involved in the build-up much less than he did at Inter. He’s been focusing on his strengths, scoring and being that fox-in-the-box presence in the final third.
His hat-trick against St. Etienne recently was proof of that. Tuchel was full of praise
He does bring controversy to the table. Inter are no strangers for that. His agent-wife Wanda Nara has a constant source of problems for the nerazzurri and could be one for PSG too. But it all comes down to the player’s happiness. If PSG can keep Icardi happy, the disturbances from his agent would be much less.
And scoring goals in Ligue 1 would allow Icardi some room into the Argentine national team. There is said to be some off-field reasons for why he doesn’t play often. But scoring regularly once again will help him establish himself as one of the best in the country, alongside regular striker option Lautaro.
PSG have the financial muscle to sign him and they need a striker. Icardi needs a new permanent home and Paris could be that.