Reports: Real Madrid to activate superstar striker's £98.2 million release clause in January
No, not Harry Kane... but Real Madrid's new no.1 target would be perfect for Los Blancos
What's the story?
Karim Benzema's recent performances, whilst brilliant in enabling Cristiano Ronaldo to run the show with his off-ball movement and selfless passing, have been underwhelming - against Valencia, and yesterday against Tottenham, his profligacy cost Real Madrid dear.
To address this, it is understood by the good folk at ilgiornale.it that Florentino Perez and Zinedine Zidane have shifted their attention to the Serie A, and arguably the league's best striker Internazionale captain Mauro Icardi who has a tempting £98.2 million (€110 million) release clause in his contract.
With Inter not playing in Europe, the fact that the Argentine superstar is not cup-tied adds to the attractiveness of the option.
In case you didn't know
Icardi has started this season on fire, scoring 9 goals in 8 matches - including a hattrick that wowed the San Siro and helped the Nerazzurri edge out their great cross-town rivals AC Milan in an entertaining Derby della Madonnina this past weekend.
His track record for Inter, ever since joining them in 2013 from Sampdoria, is exceptional and record of 98 goals in 187 games speaks for itself. Considering he is still just 24, the sharpshooter would be an excellent long-term option for Los Blancos.
The heart of the matter
Benzema's lack of ruthlessness in his finishing has come under the scanner many-a-time before this, but the general notion around the Bernabeu is that he is a Florentino Perez favourite... that however may be wearing thin considering the pressure Madrid are already under domestically.
Inter, meanwhile, are going to try their utmost to make sure their talismanic captain remains in the San Siro, and for that are ready to renegotiate his contract, increasing his salary whilst at the same time increasing the Argentine's release clause to £134 million (€150 million) although with everything that's happened since the Neymar release clause activation, that may very well not be enough.
Here's Icardi at his finest.
That lad sure knows how to find the back of the net
The fact that he is a former La Masia graduate will add spice to the transfer, but the main point - if this move does materialise - will be his almost unnatural calm in front of goal. Madrid are a wonderful team at the moment, but sooner or later they need to prepare for the future and what better way to do it than through Mauro Icardi?