It does seem as though Mauro Icardi’s short spell at Paris Saint-Germain is coming to a close. The Argentine seems set to return from the French side, who aren’t keen on making the loan deal a permanent one. The reported reason for it is PSG’s disappointment at Wanda Nara’s comments about how Icardi wants to play for Inter once again.
While Icardi has proved his goalscoring might at PSG in this short spell, moving back to Inter won’t help any of the parties. And if Icardi does return to his parent club, the Nerazzurri would be better off by moving him on.
Icardi’s Inter exit had come in controversial circumstances. After contract issues, he was stripped of the captaincy in February. He was later kept out of the starting line-up as the club had relied on playing Lautaro Martinez under Luciano Spalletti. Wanda Nara’s continuous comments hadn’t helped and after days of wanting to stay, Icardi fell out with the club and sealed a move to PSG.
When he was stripped off captaincy, CEO Beppe Marotta had said: “For us it is a bit of annoyance, both for the timing and for the way [she spoke]. I absolutely deny that any Inter manager, and in particular [chairman] Steven Zhang, has invited Icardi to stay. We have dictated a precise strategy and communicated it at the right time. We will go on until the end and nobody from Inter can distort this common line.”
His time at Inter had previously been littered with drama. He had threatened to beat up a bunch of Nerazzurri ultras back in 2016, after a part of his autobiography had caused a stir. There were multiple contract skirmishes on the way too, with Wanda Nara usually the person behind the controversial remarks.
This paints the picture of both Wanda and Icardi being rather unwanted characters. Fabio Capello had once talked about some ‘naked’ pictures that Icardi had posted on social media.
Capello had told Sky Italia: ” I have never had a player who did these things, in my teams I don’t know if he would have succeeded in entering the locker room.”
The issue didn’t stop there. Wanda found it important to issue a response to Capello, leading to the escalation of a war of words.
While the situation off the pitch isn’t always best for Icardi, there is no doubt about his goalscoring abilities. He’s contributed to 24 goals in just 31 appearances for PSG. In Ligue 1, the Argentine has scored 12 goals in 20 games- a very reliable goalscoring return for any striker.
For Inter, he was a consistent goalscorer under Luciano Spalletti and otherwise. In all competitions, he has contributed to 152 goals in 219 appearances. He was their regular striker on a regular basis and that led to him being regarded as one of the most potent goal-getters in Europe.
But it comes back to what Antonio Conte wants in the club’s first-team. There is no denying Icardi’s abilities but for a player like him, Inter can’t guarantee him first-team football. Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro have gelled brilliantly together, having scored 26 goals in total under Conte and in his 3-5-2 system.
With one being a stronger target-man and the other being a workhorse, it is the sort of frontline that Conte has always liked. It is a lot like what he had at Juventus in Fernando Llorente and Carlos Tevez. Icardi isn’t any of the two and he would want first-team football as always. That isn’t something Inter will give him, despite his qualities.
There will be clubs after him, with Juventus still as keen as they were last summer. There will always be a demand for goalscoring strikers in the market, especially for established ones like Icardi. Inter can get the money reinvested in their midfield and also use it to address their wing-back issues.