“Don’t fight it, it’s coming for you” may be a line from ‘The Greatest Showman’, but it should also be one of Mauro Icardi’s many tattoos. It references the many defenders who will have seen the lethal Argentine dispatch them after half a chance, but it is also perhaps relevant to his behaviour off the pitch. As his contract negotiations wrangle on in full public view, Inter should also realise that this is his show and this is how he operates. It is not as if this hasn’t happened before. Like it or not, Icardi is the Nerazzurri’s greatest attraction and ‘everything they’ll ever need’. There is no surprise then that this spectacle comes at a cost.
Javier Zanetti may well have fired a warning shot to Icardi and his agent/wife Wanda back in December, as he said that “each person must respect their role.” He was of course referring to the protracted contract negotiations that have been played out through the media, making the whole situation look unprofessional and somewhat crass. As one of Inter’s most iconic professionals and a current vice-president, Zanetti has the right to point out that this is not how an Inter captain should behave, but then Icardi isn’t your normal captain.
Whilst the Nerazzurri have a long line of exemplary captains, just look at Armando Picchi, Sandro Mazzola, Giacinto Facchetti and Giuseppe Bergomi to name a few, there have been oddities too. Icardi may be more Giuseppe Meazza than Zanetti, but when Inter made him captain at 22, they knew what they were doing. They appointed a young man with a very public off the field image, they stuck with him when he fell out with the ultras and they have danced with him in two drawn out contract negotiations.
His wife Wanda may not be seen as a serious figure in the world of football, but the hierarchy in Milan should not underrate her. She has twice managed to get her client two long-term deals with a release clause that will soon be removed, as football’s wealth increases at an alarming rate and €110m for Icardi is an absolute bargain. This in turn brings a premature renewal, a new release clause and the dance continues.
Icardi, who continues to play the game of constantly being both committed to the club and his wife, contradicts the information coming from his agent, who spreads fear into the media that this man just may leave. She knows the value of her spouse, she knows that when he appears on the pitch at San Siro that this is his show.
Even if Inter let him go for an astronomical fee, how do they replace a man who in 194 games has scored an incredible 116 goals in all competitions? When one also thinks about the lack of supply he has had over the years and the amount of goals in big games he scores, it is even more impressive. This campaign he has netted nine times, five fewer that Cristiano Ronaldo. However, he has achieved this with 37 shots, whilst the Portuguese striker has had 92.
Many are criticising Icardi for his handling of the situation. It is likely however, that he will soon sign a new deal and once again this will be forgotten about, at least for the short term.
Former President Massimo Moratti certainly thinks that the Nerazzurri should be savvier in these negotiations. Whilst he wouldn’t commit to whether he would pay the requested €9-10m per annum, Moratti did say “this happens every year.” Inter need to be more proactive in dealing with Icardi and not solely reactive, as that gives Wanda control of the situation.
Inter need Icardi and Icardi needs Inter, he has often said how happy and settled he is in Milan. The union between the two will no doubt continue, but it will cost the Nerazzurri more to secure this, and why shouldn’t it? He is the main attraction at the show.