Blow for Arsenal and Chelsea in pursuit of Inter Milan 24-year-old

Arsenal and Chelsea have hit a stumbling block in their pursuit for Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, with reports from Italy that his release clause could be raised to ward off interest.

According to Calciomercato via talkSPORT, the 24-year-old is being tracked by Chelsea and Arsenal, having impressed at the San Siro since his move from Sampdoria in 2013. Icardi cost Inter £11.7m four years ago, but has a release clause currently at £99m.

The Nerazzurri, however, still believe the asking price isn’t high enough and could make it £134m if he signs a new contract. Icardi is enjoying a rich vein of form this season and finds clubs interested in his signature as a result. The Argentine centre-forward has scored nine goals in eight league games and has helped Inter to second in the Serie A table.

Arsenal have been linked with Icardi for over a year, although it’s hard to see them adding to their attack given they signed Alexandre Lacazette in the summer. They also have Olivier Giroud and Danny Welbeck as next striker options.

Chelsea could be in need of a striker as a result of Antonio Conte’s lack of faith in Michy Batshuayi, the club’s second choice behind Alvaro Morata. The Blues are currently fifth in the Premier League table, nine points behind leaders Manchester City after eight games this season, having scored just 13 goals.

Adding Icardi to their attacking lineup could well turn the defending champions’ fortunes around in the top-flight, although his release clause might put Chelsea off somewhat. They paid £60m to sign Morata from Real Madrid, but may not want to set another club-record for a striker.