Manchester United are eager to raid Inter Milan for star striker Mauro Icardi, according to a report by the London Evening Standard.
Louis van Gaal is set to delve into the large transfer kitty afforded to him by the club hierarchy to leapfrog Manchester City and Chelsea in the race for his signature, having grown tired with the struggles of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie.
The Red Devils are on course for a swift return to the Champions League and a move for the in-form Serie A forward could be enough to turn them into challengers for the Premier League title in Van Gaal’s second season in charge.
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Icardi has been a shining light in an otherwise miserable season at Inter, scoring goals under both Walter Mazzarri and Roberto Mancini to spearhead their attempts to secure Europa League qualification.
He is tussling it out for the Golden Boot award with Carlos Tevez of Juventus and Jeremy Menez of AC Milan, having found the net 17 times across all competitions in his second season at the club.
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Inter are a long way adrift of a title challenge of their own, especially with Juventus’ current domestic domination showing no signs of waning, but keeping their hotshot striker will be crucial to Mancini’s thinking as he sets about restoring the club to their lofty position of old.
Despite recent victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool fuelling United’s hopes of a top four finish, Van Gaal’s men have struggled for fluidity, with the Dutchman himself struggling to coax the best out of the current forwards at his disposal.
Falcao’s arrival from Monaco was greeted with much excitement and enthusiasm, but the Columbian has looked a far cry from the striker that blitzed European football at Atletico Madrid and Porto, with recent comments made by a former agent highlighting his unhappiness at life at Old Trafford.
Van Persie have also struggled to make an impact this season. He has been on the slide ever since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement two years ago, and not even the arrival of his compatriot manager and Daley Blind has managed to turn his fortunes around.
The former Arsenal striker is likely to leave, perhaps to allow Paul Dybala to join the Red Devils from Palermo as a replacement, but James Wilson is expected to remain. Although he has not featured in recent weeks he has weighed in with goals against Queens Park Rangers and Cambridge United, with assistant manager Ryan Giggs a known admirer.
Icardi could fit the bill and, as a youngster, would have time on his side to blossom in English football. City and Chelsea will want him but United’s financial muscle now makes them favourites to sign him.