With Inter fearful of a Real Madrid move for Mauro Icardi, their new sporting director is ready to tie him down to a long-awaited extension.
Inter Milan's star man for a number of seasons, Mauro Icardi's importance to the Serie A club just grows and grows - yet the Argentine striker has not been rewarded with an improved Nerazzurri contract since October 2016. And that's despite several suitors, most notably and most persistently Real Madrid, being linked with a move to lure him away from the San Siro.
Recent recruit Marotta intent on sorting Icardi contract
However, Beppe Marotta's recent appointment as Inter's sporting director promises to change this situation. During his time in the same role at Juventus, Marotta earned a reputation for getting tough contract-renewal negotiations over the line, successfully tying down the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Paulo Dybala to fresh terms. Now, reveals Gazzetta dello Sport, he intends to do the same with Icardi.
Inter braced for summer Real Madrid offer
Inter fear that Madrid's struggles this term could persuade Los Blancos to table a summer bid for the 25-year-old, just when the Italians are working to build a team around the striker that is capable of taking the club to the next level and competing with the all-conquering Juve, winners of the last seven Serie A titles.
Talks are therefore set to get back underway next week over an extension to Icardi's present agreement, which expires in 2021, with Inter ready to bow to the forward's wage demands - at least partially. Despite his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, asking for around eight million euros a year, the club have over the past six months refused to go above six, but are now likely to offer seven (although this amount would in part be tied up in a range of bonuses).
Inter ready to listen to Icardi request over release clause
But the key issue in the negotiations is expected to be Icardi's buy-out figure, which is currently 110 million euros. If Inter do not fully meet his salary demands, he is in exchange set to ask for there to be no release clause in his new contract - a request that the club are thought to be willing to discuss and which, in the long term, would work in the player's favour were he to decide he wanted a change.
Inter are confident that the discussions will reach a positive resolution in the near future, in the process bringing peace of mind both to Icardi's team-mates and to the Milan club's fanbase. For the time being, at least...