Thursday February 14 2013
Is Icardi really worth €15m?

A storming 2013 so far has seen Mauro Icardi become a wanted man. But, asks Antonio Labbate, is his price-tag justified?

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was there. Argentina tactician Alejandro Sabella was present too. They weren’t alone either. The reason behind their trip to Marassi on Sunday? Mauro Icardi, the young striker who has become one of the hottest properties in the Italian game after a goal-packed start to 2013.

For 75 minutes, Icardi was pretty anonymous at the Ferraris. Isolated by his teammates in the first half of the match against Roma, the 19-year-old ensured victory with his only real effort of the game. Rising above Daniele De Rossi at the near post, he headed home a sublime in-swinging corner to make it 3-1.

It was Icardi’s eighth League goal of the campaign, but, significantly, his seventh since January 6. Two days later and the Gazzetta dello Sport led with the news that Icardi would be heading to Inter at the end of the season for €15m. That alleged deal was subsequently denied by Doria official Rinaldo Sagramola, but it’s no secret that the centre-forward’s future will be outside of Genoa.

Napoli have admitted that they tried and failed to land the striker in January, while Inter’s keenness has been confirmed. The transfer fee cited by the Gazzetta also seems to be around the figure that will be required given that the Azzurri are believed to have offered €5m for a half-share in him, and €12m for his whole contract, last month.

While Icardi clearly has promise, his current market valuation is generous and primarily based on his form over a six-week period. While his scoring stats of eight goals in just 18 League games seem impressive, they don’t look so phenomenal when you break them down. After all, he’s only scored in four games.

Having marked his first League start in the Week 13 derby win over Genoa with his first Serie A goal, Icardi didn’t celebrate again until Week 19 and the trip to Juventus. It was an afternoon where he truly announced himself to the Italian top flight and he was rightly rewarded with the headlines after scoring a brace in 10-man Sampdoria’s 2-1 victory in Turin.

What was less impressive about those strikes were the fact that Juve ‘keeper Gigi Buffon openly admitted that he should have kept out the first and possibly done better with the second. “I don’t usually make those kind of mistakes,” the custodian noted when asked about the effort which made it 1-1. “I messed up because I was still backpedalling when the shot was taken. Let’s say that Icardi should thank me for that one.”

Mauro made sure he was again noticed the next time he rippled a top-flight net. On an emotional afternoon at Marassi just days after President Riccardo Garrone lost his battle against illness, Icardi became the fifth youngest player in Serie A history to grab four goals in a game. Again, a fine achievement, but let’s not forget that Pescara, their opponents that day in the 6-0 thrashing, have the leakiest defence in the Division.

The highlighting of an afternoon’s deficiencies by Buffon and Pescara is not to belittle Icardi as a player, but merely to highlight the fact that, at times, Italian football lacks balance.

It seems absurd that a player who cost Sampdoria €400,000 in July 2011 is now said to be worth almost 40 times that amount. What is even more staggering is that there are Italian clubs, in these difficult economic times, who seem willing to pay that. And if you can raise your eyebrow any higher, one of those is Inter who have just committed to spending an initial €11m on 18-year-old Mateo Kovacic in January.

While on one hand you can praise the Nerazzurri for looking towards the future, it’s clear that Icardi is no finished product and would be somewhat of a gamble. In footballing terms, he’s proved nothing yet. Absolutely nothing. What is in his favour right now is the kind of media hype which surrounded Mattia Destro – remember him? – given his goals at Siena in the second half of last season.

Icardi is undoubtedly one to watch. His impressive scoring record as a kid saw him catch the eye of Barcelona. His brief, very brief, Serie A showings so far have also attracted Italy boss Cesare Prandelli who has openly admitted to speaking to him about an international career with the Azzurri and not his native Argentina. While his agent has been doing his best to big-up the boy by comparing him to Gabriel Batistuta.

Icardi could very well become the latest Argentine sensation in front of goal, but, for now, he isn’t. Today he’s just a kid with the rawest of potential. As for tomorrow, it looks like it will take around €15m to find out…

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Have your say...
He is good and could become a champion but he is not Juve's DNA coz he prefer Argentine nationality. I would love el shaarawy come to juve lol.. He just humble & FANTASTIC! #forzajuve
on the 7th March, 2013 at 4:30pm
Thanks for your reply JuveFanatico! With regards to SES you make a key point: "as long as he is scoring, I doubt that anyone cares". The thing is, when he isn't scoring, is he doing enough in an attacking sense? Is he affecting the game?

Going back to Icardi, I feel that his impact has been incredible, especially when you consider that he has been playing in a struggling team. It will be fascinating to see how he finishes his season.
on the 16th February, 2013 at 12:11pm
@Daniel Giambrone

I didn't say he is not as talented as SES, i said he is not SES in reference to the impact that SES has had at Milan. Which at his age makes him exceptional. I doubt that Icardi would have had a similar impact at Milan.

As far as your point on SES being a bit overrated. I think you are a bit harsh on a lad that doesn't need creativity, passing, tricks, & dribbling skills, he may have all those things in him but as long as he is scoring i doubt anyone cares about the rest.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 1:56pm
Great post Sam, but you should level your disappointment at Mazzarri & not the club. Despite what he says, it is obvious that he doesn't give a damn about the EL. He rarely rotates in Serie A, but does it en mass in Europe. His poor attitude, in this regard, clearly transmits its way to the players. Kudos to Petkovic & Strama. They are showing that a good league campaign & EL run, are not mutually exclusive.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 1:15pm
JuveFanatico, how do you know that he isn't as talented as SES? I'm going to be in a minority here, but I feel that SES is a tad overrated. He is a good finisher and works hard, but is often a peripheral figure in games. I don't see much in the way of creativity, passing, tricks, & dribbling skills from him. He has time on his side though & must use it to add more depth to his game; making him less predictable.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 1:08pm
On the personal level am not conviced bt the price tag, As for matri he was a milansta youth team , and only shown his ability at 26 ,, pazzini explode with cassano at samp also at 26 , I think ICARDI has the time to improve if he gets the hall chance at inter and I think the big teams have no pacience with young lads
on the 15th February, 2013 at 11:51am
Italian syndrome:
A couple good games and a player is worth 100 times his actual value.
One or two bad games and the players value drops 100 times below his actual value.

Icardi is talented but he isn't SES or Balo. He may have a great future but in this economy at this stage in the season with the guy only showing glimpses of quality. hmm Still this may prove to be a Sanchez or Cavani story or more likely Mido or Javi Moreno story.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 9:14am
To some extend i do agree with you, neither Pazzini nor Matri is worth 15 or 17mil respectively. The difference between those two & Icardi is that they have proven them selfs, able to score goals for every club they played in. Icardi, even though he is young & talented he hasn't proven that he can deliver consistently. Especially when you look at his record. The only decent delivery he has given was against Juve. One game against one good club, he is not the first nor last youngster
on the 15th February, 2013 at 9:02am
Icardi`s natural talent is clearly outstanding, not his stats. His stats are just about to come, but since INTER changed their strategy and are willing to buy wonderkids, they wish to sign him BEFORE he explodes in Serie A [remember Cavani story?]...
15m is a bit far stretched, but you are paying for his potential. It's up to the scouting team to decide if he can reach it.
INTER also have Longo prepared for a summer return and Livaja making progress at Atalanta.
Buffon is just a sore loser.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 8:51am

Unlike you i & some of your likes i don't hold on grudges when my team gets beaten. The lad did good in Turin, but that's all he did. To me he hasn't proven anything. I remember Iaquinta, Amauri, Mutu, and quiet a few others who scored and did well against Juve. Then they arrived at a big club and can't deliver for the remainder of their career. Occasional genius does not warrant a great deal of money. Especially at the age of 19.
on the 15th February, 2013 at 8:47am
I admit that 15 millions are too much for the young striker , but if we make a comparsion between him and pazzini with the same price tag !! Also matri 17 millions and both of them are 26 or 27 years old ,,, none of the above mentioned deserve more then 7 millions at max
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:51pm
JuveFanatico still hasn't recovered from Mauro plastering ladri in torino.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:48pm
The guy is just 19 and the article is ridiculing him like he is 26 and is still showing potential. Not very classy of Buffon either to making such a statement.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:41pm
I dont think he is worth 15 million, Its way too much money to gamble on a young guy Like Icardi. Italian Football has to focus on investing in new stadiums and start filling them up like Juventus did. It is important to keep the good players in the league. If you cant pay the players competitive wages they will all leave. I am a Juve fan and I would not want Juve to pay 15 Mil for him, maybe 7 or 9 would be more of a fair price.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 8:13pm
Napoli you are a disgrace, pathetic pathetic pathetic. Thats why we have lost champ league spot, pathetic results in the europa. Napoli should easily beat plzen. My god I am so sick of these pathetic results in europa league. This is Napolis best chance to win a trophy, Juve are going to win the league. Its makes me so mad these results its the same ever year, and it makes our league look weak. If Napoli dont want to play in europa lets have some italian teams that are commited to playing.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 7:48pm
Is he in form or is he blossoming, that is the question you have to ask however.

Look at Sanchez case: his scoring was sporadic if not in-existant for about 2 years. In 2011, he suddenly starts putting balls in the back of the net and 6 months later he is starting for Barca. From 20 mil in January to 35 mil in summer...

If you think he is blossiming, get him quick because the price is not going to drop. If you are convinced that he is a top talent, you risk more by waiting.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 3:05pm
As of right now, no, he's not worth 15m. However, there's every chance that his form will continue on like this, and by season's end he'll go to PSG or someone for 35m. Moratti wants to avoid what happened with Sanchez (if you remember, Inter had a chance to sign him for 20m the January before he left)
on the 14th February, 2013 at 2:09pm
I don't know what some of you see in this guy.
Icardi is not worth more than 8mil tops & thats a gamble as it is.
15mil is absurd considering the age & the length of Icardi's Serie A career.

Inter have a tendency of spending big only to sell those same players to their city cousins for much cheaper and have the Red and black side of Milan reap the rewards.

In this economy, i would wait until the end of the season before splashing 15mil on raw talent.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 1:39pm
@ Seanie

The players you mentioned were sold because of Enrico Mantovani and Riccardo Garrone. They made Sampdoria a selling club. At least Paolo Mantovani was a shrewd buyer and he loved the club. He did what he could maintain his stars. Mantovani Snr built the nucleus of his team slowly and added essential bits and pieces.

As for Icardi, he's worth €15 million. He is Doria's most promising youngster and a potential superstar. I'd keep him but Edoardo Garrone might be like his dad.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 1:14pm
Great point Ferban! From what I have seen of Icardi, he definitely looks to be worth €15 mil. He is going to be a superb player, and will be worth a lot more than 15 mil, in the near future. Ask yourself why Prandelli is so keen to get him to play for Italy, and why Napoli & Inter are trying to sign him. They already view him as the ideal man to replace Cavani or Milito.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 12:55pm
Icardi has promise, and something that I feel Samp should hold on to and not worry aout a price tag. I don't get how Samp build up great players in the past, only to sell them on (Montella, Chiesa, Pazzini, Quagliarella, to name a few), instead of a continued nurturing of their talents, which could bring more glory to Doria, like the Mantovanis did in the 80s and 90s. The giants like Milan, Inter and Napoli all have a huge backbone of players that have been in the squad a long time - it works!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 11:50am
Is it no coincidence that Icardi is scoring a lot more under Dellio then under Ciro ???

Yes a lot depends on how quickly a player can adapt to changes but the same can be said for coaches. Can Stramma find a position that will suit both him & Icardi ? Only time will tell...
on the 14th February, 2013 at 11:34am
simple answer to the question - NO!!! hes not
on the 14th February, 2013 at 11:15am
I'd rather see Italian teams spending 10-20m euro on youngsters than guys like Tevez for example. Although a lot of these young players don't work out, at least you can generally get your money back when you sell. And their wages are less, too. The same can't be said for signing 28-32-year-olds who are only in Italy for one last paycheck.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:31am
Great article. Icardi has some promise, but his numbers don't tell the whole story.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:21am

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