Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed that Napoli made an approach for Inter Milan outcast Mauro Icardi, but ruled out a trade deal involving Lorenzo Insigne for the player.
Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta declared last week that Icardi’s six-year stay at the San Siro will end this summer. It came following failed talks over a contract renewal, which prompted the club to remove him as captain.
The Argentina international and his representatives have since begun working hard on finding a new club. Although it appears that a stay in Italy is likely given Juventus and Napoli’s interest in the striker.
And now De Laurentiis has confirmed Napoli have approached Inter in the past over Icardi and that their “admiration for him as a player is undoubted”.
However, talk of a swap deal with Inter involving Icardi and Insigne is way off the mark.
“[Carlo] Ancelotti said he wouldn’t exchange Icardi with Lorenzo Insigne and he’s right,” the Partenopei president told Corriere dello Sport.
“Icardi may well always want to join Juventus, but I prefer Lorenzo to him too, because he’s the one we need, while we already have Arkadiusz Milik and Dries Mertens upfront.
“I won’t deny we asked after Icardi. I won’t deny he has talent: Icardi is an excellent player, but so much has been said about him, he now seems older than his 26 years.
“Seen from afar, he gives off the impression that he hasn’t been dealt with properly, was wasted and didn’t understand the importance of the role he has. But our admiration for him as a player is undoubted.”
Icardi has scored 124 goals in 219 appearances for Inter in his six years at the club. He is also under contract until June 2021 and commands a market value of €80m.
Reports have suggested a big motive for Inter’s decision to sell the 26-year-old this summer is to build up the funds to sign Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku.