Last season saw the emergence of yet another talented Argentine in European football. Mauro Icardi provided a bright spark in an otherwise poor season for Sampdoria in the Serie A. The 20-year-old striker hit the net ten times in 31 appearances for the Ligurian club, providing a further four assists in his first full season.
Icardi’s performances didn’t go unnoticed, with several big clubs circling before the season had even finished. Inter Milan won the race and secured the talented youngsters signature for £5.3 million.
Watched by many of the big European clubs from a young age he made the move from Argentine club Vecindario to Barcelona at the tender age of 15. Mauro Icardi worked his way through the youth system at the Nou Camp, and was sent out on loan to Sampdoria in January 2011 until the end of the season with an option to buy.
By July, Sampdoria had seen enough and brought Icardi to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris for a bargain £345,000. He spent the majority of the 2011/2012 season playing in the Campionato Primavera, with a couple of first team appearance in Sampdoria’s successful Serie B campaign, before stepping up last season and helping Sampdoria survive in Serie A.
He is an agile player with superb finishing but it’s his positioning and awareness that make him such a dangerous striker, and gives him that extra half a yard that makes the difference. Capped five times at under 20 level for Argentina and scoring three goals, he looks set to push for a full call up in the coming season.
Icardi is only going to get better, and alongside fellow countryman Rodrigo Palacio at Inter, there is a good chance that he could break the 20 goal barrier this season. He will also get his first taste of European football in the Europa League, with Inter Milan looking like a good bet to go far in the competition.
However, if Inter don’t improve on last season disappointing display, and again fail to reach the Champions League, don’t be surprised if the bigger clubs start looking at Mauro Icardi next summer.