Meet Mauro Icardi: The man to reignite Inter'™s attack

After slumping to a mid-table finish in Serie A last season there's work to do for Inter Milan this summer - but Gareth McKnight thinks they've got at least one thing right with the signing of young Argentine striker Mauro Icardi.

The Nerazzurri have suffered an alarming decline since 2010, when the Portuguese coach delivered the Champions League then promptly left for Real Madrid. After a ninth-place finish in 2012-13, big changes at the San Siro are needed for Inter to challenge for top honours once more.

Although the entire Inter squad is in desperate need of a revamp, one area of particular concern is in attack. The club'™s slump over the last two seasons has followed the sale of Samuel Eto'™o to Anzhi Makhachkala: the Cameroonian hitman has simply not been adequately replaced.

The addition of Rodrigo Palacio and a nostalgic overdependence on Diego Milito simply isn'™t enough to shoot Inter back into Champions League qualification contention. Last season the pair contributed 21 league goals to their dismal Serie A campaign -“ the same amount Eto'™o scored by himself in his final season with the club.

With Antonio Cassano having joined Parma after a mediocre solitary season, the stage is set for a new superstar to lead the line and transform Inter into contenders once more. That man? Step forward 20-year-old Mauro Icardi.

Icardi'™s short career has been an eventful one to date. Born in Rosario, Argentina, he moved to Spain with his family at the age of six. The South American was taught his trade at the holy grail of football academies, La Masia, and was on the books of Barcelona for three years.

After progressing through the youth ranks at the Catalan club, Icardi made the bold move to Italy, specifically Sampdoria, in search of first-team football. Initially on loan, the Argentine showed his predatory nature with a match-winning goal off the bench on his debut for the then-Serie B side.

The young forward has just completed his first full season after a permanent switch to Stadio Luigi Ferraris last summer, and impressed for the Genoa-based side in Serie A. For a greenhorn, 10 goals in the top flight was a solid return in a newly promoted team.

Icardi'™s blend of pace, power and a ruthless eye for goal make him an excellent prospect for Inter"

Notable performances included a brace at Juventus Stadium in victory over the Italian champions, and a four-goal haul in a 6-0 win over Pescara. The South American has also scored three times in five appearances for Argentina Under-20s.

Icardi'™s blend of pace, power and a ruthless eye for goal make him an excellent prospect for Inter. He follows in the footsteps of a wealth of South American talent to don the black and blue, while his attributes are not dissimilar to a certain Milito when fit and firing.

It'™s certainly a big ask for a 20-year-old to spearhead this new Inter revolution, but his arrival will at least add energy and purpose to a team that has dragged its heels over the last 18 months.

With the likes of Mateo Kovacic also threatening big seasons, the Nerazzurri faithful will hope these exciting prospects can rekindle the Inter of old.

Icardi'™s first campaign will be a testing one but Mazzarri must have faith in his new man. With Milito in the twilight of his career and Palacio also ageing, their youthful countryman has the potential for big things in the not-too-distant future. But can he guide Inter back where they belong?

Gareth McKnight is the Serie A editor at Soccerlens.com.


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