Every so often you hear talk of a new young star arriving on the European football scene. This is the one, you hear. The guy that everyone will lament missing out on in a year’s time. This guy is the ‘next big thing’. Sure, sometimes they fade into obscurity, but just sometimes… When they do break through and prove to be the big talent, you regret that you never told anybody about it. Of course, nobody believes that you called it early, because you never told anybody. So at the risk of looking a fool when nobody’s heard of this guy in a year’s time, I'm sticking my neck out for……Mauro Icardi.
Who? Well, you may not have heard too much about him, but if my information is correct, he’s been well in the focus of a number of Premier League clubs’ European scouting networks. Chelsea and Manchester City were understood to be particularly interested. Born in Rosario, Argentina, but resident in Spain since a young boy, some astute bright spark took him on few months loan until the end of the season from Barca in January 2011 as a callow 17 year old. His tender years did not prevent him netting 13 goals in a mere 19 outings for the Primavera team however. Come season end, the Genoese club were bright enough to secure his services full time for a fee in the region of 400,000 euros.
In May 2012, he made his first team debut, coming on as a substitute with just fifteen minutes left in the game. He only needed ten of those minutes, to open his goal account. It’s hardly surprising that this season, he has become a first team player and he signed off for Sampdoria with a record of 11 goals in 33 games. This remember is for Sampdoria, perennial struggler's against relegation in Serie A. Suffice to say, his goals, including four in one game against relegation rivals Pescara secured his club’s survival in the top league.
Sampdoria have now revealed that an agreement has been reached with Inter Milan for Icardi to move to the Milan club this summer. Although the price has not been revealed, it’s safe to say that it was several times larger than the price the club paid to Barcelona for him, and I've seen it stated as 15million euros. Although clearly reluctant sellers, money is important to the small Genoa outfit, and the player moves on with their blessings – and thanks.
Although there will be the inevitable comings and goings at Inter, as there is every summer, it’s quite possible that Icardi will not be in the early starting line ups for the club. If the talk of him is true however, that may change pretty quickly. Look out for him when the Champions’ League ties roll round, remember the name. Also don’ be surprised if he’s around in Brazil in a year’s time. Although he’s yet to make his debut with the big boys, he’s scored three goals in only five outings for the Argentinian Under 20 team.
As I say, I could end talking about just another guy who was built up, but never amounted to anything. This one though, could genuinely be “the next big star”.