Following an impressive debut in Serie A with Sampdoria, Mauro Icardi agreed to personal terms with Inter back in April. Eventually, his club accepted the offer from the Nerazzurri and earlier this July, Icardi completed the move to the Giuseppe Meazza.
Inter confirmed that the young Argentine will be wearing the number nine shirt this upcoming season. He’s the youngest player to ever don the jersey, meaning expectations will be high for the 20-year-old. Despite all of that, he didn’t appear to be too flustered by what potentially lies ahead.
“It’s true, the Inter number nine shirt has been worn by great champions here and around the world,” Icardi told Inter Channel. I chose it because I like it a lot. If one day I can do something good in my career, it will stay in my memories.
“The important thing isn’t the number you have on your back. Last year I wore number 98 and I didn’t care.”
Icardi certainly talks the talk, and with both he and Ishak Belfodil, another young arrival [from Parma], potentially starting together up front, he better walk the walk as well. In 2012/13, Icardi scored 10 goals in 31 games with Sampdoria. Considering that he turned 20 in February, it’s an impressive return, but Nerazzurri supporters must be wary of their new acquisition.
Again, Icardi’s still young, and with a year of valuable experience under his belt, he most likely will improve this upcoming campaign. However, he didn’t record a goal until his 13th appearance of the season in a 3-1 win over Genoa in the Derby Della Lanterna. The 20-year-old then failed to find the back of the net in his next five games. He then made amends by earning his first Serie A brace in the opening match of 2013 against Juventus. The Rosario native then followed that up with four goals in a 6-0 demolition over Pescara. Icardi finished 2012/13 with just three more goals in the next three months.
There’s still a lot of upside in Icardi, though. He possesses great technique, intelligence when making runs, pace, and finishing ability. If the youngster starts as much as he did with Samp, he’ll continue to blossom and should be able to claim more goals. With fellow Argentine Diego Milito injured for the opening months of the new season, Icardi has a fantastic opportunity to seize plenty of opportunities. With that, coach Walter Mazzarri will be content to write Icardi’s name into his XI week in, week out.
One aspect of Icardi’s game that could improve is his work rate off the ball. Whenever Icardi was shut down due to poor service or because of tight marking, he was largely invisible. The likes of Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, and Fernando Llorente continually impress due to this trait. If Icardi adapts, he’ll be able to contribute to every match Inter plays, even if he isn’t on the score sheet.
Inter definitely signed a talented forward. If he gets the consistent minutes, listens to any advice to improve, and handles the pressure of playing for the Nerazzurri, then Biscione supporters will be singing the Argentinean’s name for many years to come.