As Chelsea continue dialogue with former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri, as a replacement for current boss Antonio Conte, a report in Italian news source Corriere dello Sport via the Metro states that Inter Milan’s Mauro Icardi is Sarri’s top striker target.

Mauro Icardi’s influence at Inter Milan can’t be understated, with the 25-year old banging in 29 Serie A league goals in just 34 appearances. That form has hardly been a one-off, as last season he scored 24 league goals. Infact Icardi has scored a total of 110 Serie A league goals, as well as 26 assists.

The report in Italy says that Mauro Icardi is Maurizio Sarri’s main striker target and this has apparently been discussed between him and Chelsea officials ahead of his expected arrival – with the Blues likely to back their new manager by meeting Inter Milan’s release clause for the striker, which is a whopping £96 million.

Chelsea will be mindful that only foreign clubs can activate his release clause, but according to his contract the clause will be active for a few weeks in this summer’s transfer window.

Ultimately, Mauro Icardi’s arrival at Stamford Bridge hinges on Maurizio Sarri being appointed as manager, but he still technically contracted to Napoli, despite the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti. Napoli have a £7 million release clause on Sarri, but that expires after May 31st, after that it drops to about half of that – which Chelsea are likely to find acceptable.

However, the club must also finance the departure of Antonio Conte – the Metro state that compensation for Sarri and the pay-off to Conte would likely tot up to around £14 million. Ultimately there’s a lot of risk at stake on what looks to be a huge turnover this summer at the club.

All of this may have to happen sooner rather than later as Icardi is a man in-demand, with clubs like Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United all linked. Ultimately all of these clubs can offer Champions League football, while Chelsea will have to sell their league chances and swift return to Europe’s top table instead.

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