When Inter CEO for Sport Beppe Marotta spoke to the press on Sunday, he certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons.
“We have the right to choose the protagonists of our project and the values of this project,” the executive revealed to Sky Italia. “It requires commitment and respect. It is only with a culture of hard work and winning that we will be able to reach the objectives that we did in the past. We decided together as a club and the new manager that [Mauro] Icardi and [Radja] Nainggolan are not consistent with our idea of a project.
“We made a big and courageous decision, to do the best for the club and without lacking respect for these two professionals." If [Icardi] must stay with us, we'll talk about it at the end of the transfer market with the concerned person. Today we're optimistic that we'll be able to find the best solution for everyone.”
This time last summer, Mauro Icardi was getting ready to start a new campaign as Inter Captain, top scorer from the season before and ready to embark on his first ever outing in the Champions League. Twelve months later, and Marotta has not only put the striker on the market, but has publicly offered him for sale to all who will listen.
Make no mistake, Inter want rid of Icardi, even if that means his value has depreciated by having so openly admitted it. What has gone wrong? The answer is almost everything.
Since arriving from Sampdoria for the 2013/14 campaign, the Argentine forward has scored nine, 22, 16, 24 and 29 goals in each season up until 2017/18. Controversy involving his wife and agent Wanda Nara, upsetting the club’s Ultras with comments written in his autobiography had taken the sheen off his tenure in Nerazzurri, but his prolific strike rate had made up for it.
However, 2018/19 has been the final straw in a series of regrettable incidents. After a series of comments made by Nara on TV show Tiki Taka regarding her husband’s future and revealing details of private happenings from inside the dressing room, Icardi was stripped of the captaincy back in February.
A long, convoluted and highly public drama inevitably followed, and in the end the striker was returned for the team. It was perhaps inevitable that he ended the campaign with his second-lowest goal tally (11) at Inter, but this is not the reason why this former star player has been unceremoniously kicked out.
Put simply, the Nerazzurri have had enough of the drama. Owners Suning have brought in Marotta and now Antonio Conte for a reason; to shed the club of its reputation and nickname of “Pazza (crazy) Inter.
“The objective is to find stability,” Marotta continued in the aforementioned interview. “Conte remains a great motivator for team and club. He really does focus on the details and it’s what allows us to achieve important results. We can all grow with him by our side.”
It’s extremely telling that the pair – responsible for three consecutive Serie A titles when they worked together at Juventus – no longer want any of Icardi’s drama around the dressing room. Without him, they clearly feel that they can become a genuine challenger for a league victory in the forthcoming season.
For Icardi, he must now look for a club who are willing to accept all the baggage that come with his prolific strike rate.