Ever since rumors started stirring that Gonzalo Higuain was heading to Juventus, there have been ever-growing rumors that they would try to replace him with Mauro Icardi. Now, with Higuain gone, Napoli have reportedly made numerous and escalating offers for the Argentine striker, with Inter rejecting every one so far. Their latest effort to be made is an utterly jaw-dropping one, with Aurelio De Laurentiis authorizing a stunning €70 million bid.
Icardi is unquestionably talented, as demonstrated by his winning the capocannoniere two seasons ago, but his fit with Napoli both in terms of squad and tactics is dubious at best. One could certainly see Inter getting a healthy fee for Icardi should they sell him this summer, but €70 million? That’s hard to stomach.
The biggest issue that would make Icardi’s fit with Napoli a difficult one would be that of on-field laziness, or at least traits that create the perception of such. He’s very static and largely low-effort on the pitch, demanding the ball come to him where he is rather than working to find better space or coming back to help create dangerous possession. It’s a problematic trait that Higuain displayed at times, and not-so-coincidentally those were the times when Napoli’s attack was at its worst over the last two seasons with Maurizio Sarri in charge.
Now, that could be a symptom of life at Inter Milan. Roberto Mancini isn’t exactly the most inspirational manager around, and Icardi’s effort woes could come down to a simple matter of motivation rather than the laziness many fans accuse him of. But that static nature on the pitch coupled with his hot-and-cold runs of form makes him far too big a risk to take with a high-money transfer.
Especially when you consider that Napoli just signed a very talented and capable striker in Arkadiusz Milik, have another in Manolo Gabbiadini — more on him later — and have several other positions they need to spend the Higuain transfer fee on, spending so much of it on a player who is a dubious-at-best fit in Icardi makes no sense. De Laurentiis is smarter than this, and needs to move on.