Serie A giants Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi has refused to play for his team against Rapid Vienna in Europe League game on Thursday night after his captain armband has been removed recently.
Inter Milan have announced yesterday that their goalkeeper and long-serving player Samir Handanovic would replace Icardi as captain as Luciano Spalletti became concerned that the Argentine’s protracted contract talks have been the distraction for the player to lead the team.
The 25-year-old Argentine international forward still has two-and-a-half years left on his current deal at the San Siro, however, the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid have been strongly linked with a bid this summer amid reports that Inter Milan have failed to reach an agreement with players agent and wife Wanda Nara.
Spalletti revealed that Icardi had not taken the decision whether he will remain at San Siro or leave the club after the end of the season with the forward refusing to travel with the team to their Europe League 1/32 tie against Austria Viena.
“The decision to remove the captain’s armband from Icardi was difficult and painful, because we all know what he is worth to the team,” Spalletti told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
“But it was divided between all parts of the club and was made exclusively for the good of Inter. Obviously, he took it badly but there are things which disturb him and the team.”
The 25-year-old forward was given the captain’s armband back in 2015 he has been their top scorer for four consecutive times.
Argentina international forward is believed to be valued at £96m by Inter Milan and Chelsea will have to break the bank to lure him at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea may be handed an opportunity to sign world-class forward, Gonzalo Higuain for a cut-price deal on a permanent basis, according to the sources from Italy.
The West London giants have signed the Argentina international on a six-month loan deal during the January transfer window as a replacement for Alvaro Morata who has made deadline day switch to his former team Real Madrid’s arch-rivals Atletico Madrid.
Gonzalo Higuain has shown the odd moment of quality in his first four games for the Blues, getting off the mark with a couple of goals in the 5-0 win over Huddersfield at the start of the month.
The Blues are believed to be keen on signing the 31-year-old for full-time from the summer, should Maurizio Sarri keep his job and The Mirror reports that Italian champions will not stand in their way.
Juventus want to get his £270,000-a-week salary off their books after agreeing on a £400,000-a-week contract for Aaron Ramsey in Turin when he officially arrives.
Argentine international forward has spent the first half of the campaign on season-long loan with Serie A giants AC Milan, where he has managed to score only eight goals from 20 games.
Meanwhile, Manchester United and Chelsea are among the teams to have made an approach for Barcelona key midfielder Ivan Rakitic.
Croatian midfielder has been one of the vital players for Ernesto Valverde’s side and the Catalan club unlikely to let him leave the club.
According to the Sport reports, the player could be available when the summer transfer window will be re-opened, with his future at the Camp Nou seems to come to the end following the arrival of Frenkie De Jong from Ajax