‘Behind every great man there is a great woman’ may well be a quote that Wanda Nara lives by, but few in Milan would agree right now. Mauro Icardi and his agent have been living out a soap opera of late and Inter have played a major role. Maybe she will be proved right, perhaps in two seasons time and as her husband lifts the Champions League with Real Madrid, she will give the Nerazzurri a well-manicured finger. Perhaps this situation will, once again, see an uneasy ceasefire called, but whatever the outcome, all parties look unprofessional.
Picture this, Beppe Marotta is walking through the Suning Training Center when he hears an argument. He walks into the large press room and to the right he sees Coach Luciano Spalletti gesticulating wildly. On the left of the room, Wanda is shouting back with all the Latin passion one would imagine. All of a sudden Mauro appears to back up his wife and the conflict escalates. Enter stage right Icardi’s sister, everybody gasps, she slaps Wanda, the argument continues until the door slams open, everyone is silent, it’s Massimo Moratti. Queue credits and theme tune.
This sounds ridiculous right? Well it is, but the protracted negotiations over Icardi’s contract and the time line to the captaincy being taken off him have been similar to a poorly-acted soap opera.
On February 12 when Marotta and Spalletti met, it is reported they discussed how to deal will the Mauro situation. They decided that the Argentinian wasn’t befitting of the Inter armband and who can blame them? Javier Zanetti still walks amongst them and is a living symbol, following in the footsteps of Beppe Bergomi, Armando Picchi, Giacinto Facchetti and Beppe Baresi. Perhaps no matter what the outcome, a new leader in the squad will send a message that they are the collective and Icardi will either be gone or simply remain as the striker with the bad boy image.
Whilst much of the anger has been directed at Wanda Nara, Inter must look at themselves. They have throughout this entire debacle not managed their PR in the right way. Spalletti has been extremely outspoken and at times provocative, enhancing his reputation as a Coach who struggles with players who have egos that match his own.
Marotta has come into a situation that must be incredibly hard to get to grips with and he will have some tough decisions to make. It can’t get much more complex than stripping the captain of his role to hand it to a teammate.
So, what next for Icardi and Inter? The simple fact of the matter is that if the Nerazzurri are to keep their centre-forward, then they need to accept that they will continue to experience their negotiations through the medium of Instagram.
There is an argument that the club could come out of this on top, albeit not unscathed. As mentioned previously, publicly disassociating Icardi from the image of the club is a politically shrewd step. This ‘him and us’ situation allows him to continue in the same vein, but now he is only an embodiment of himself and his camp. Many a team has had a wayward striker whose image has a rebellious appeal, so it could actually improve both brands.
If they are to sell him, then with two years left on his contract, they will get good money for him. Inter would miss the goals, but arguably the rest of the team would have to take on the collective responsibility. Look at the example when Gonzalo Higuain left Napoli, Maurizio Sarri created a utilitarian team who all revelled in their new goal-scoring roles. Inter also have Lautaro Martinez, who scored against Rapid Vienna (that’s right there was football actually played yesterday), he was dubbed ‘The Saint’ and the ‘Vice King’ in the morning papers. Even if Lautaro has a long way to go, the transfer fee for Icardi would at least allow the club to sign another front man.
This drama will no doubt rumble on for some time. Spalletti said, after the game in Vienna that there was no problem with Mauro returning as far as he could see and then went on to praise Handanovic as captain. It is likely that the two camps will reach some sort of resolution and he will return to action, especially as the transfer window is closed. Inter have some tough decisions to make as whichever direction they chose, or whichever path they are forced down, they have clear consequences. Icardi has come back from an argument with the Curva Nord let’s not forget, so tune in for the next episode.