Chelsea set to activate 100 million Euro release clause for Serie A’s best Striker

epa05951523 Chelsea manager Antonio Conte reacts following his team's 3-0 win in the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea FC and Middlesborough FC at Stamford Bridge in London, Britain, 08 May 2017. EPA/ANDY RAIN EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' service. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

Chelsea are reportedly set to trigger the €100 million release clause to sign Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan in the winter transfer window.

Spanish publication El Gol Digital have reported that Antonio Conte has demanded the acquisition of a striker in January in order to close the gap on Manchester City and mount a title challenge. The Chelsea boss has set his sights on Mauro Icardi, and is eager to recruit the Inter Milan captain in the winter.

Icardi’s first foray in Europe saw him join the fabled La Masia academy at Barcelona, before ending his footballing education at Sampdoria. Upon making his senior debut at the club level, the player enjoyed a promising maiden campaign at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, and was subsequently snapped up by Inter Milan in the summer of 2013.

Since joining the Nerazzurri, Icardi’s career has taken on an upward trajectory, with the Argentine now widely regarded as one of the best strikers in Europe. In fact, Icardi has been the goalscoring extraordinaire for Inter, having found the back of the net 89 times in 158 appearances in the last four seasons.

His exploits have not gone unnoticed, with several clubs making overtures to sign him in recent years. The latest suitors in his pursuit are Chelsea, with Antonio Conte keen on bolstering his side’s front-line heading into the second half of the season.

Summer arrival has taken to the challenges in England with aplomb, having quickly established himself as the Blues’ talisman. But, the Spaniard’s goalscoring exploits have not been enough for Chelsea, with the rest of the side not managing to contribute sufficiently.

Diego Costa’s departure from the club has also left a void, if not a huge one, and with Michy Batshuayi failing to measure up at Stamford Bridge, Conte is looking to bolster his striking options in January.

Chelsea have primarily been linked with players who would serve more as a backup options up until now, but Icardi is being eyed as a reinforcement who could potentially transform the West Londoners into a genuinely formidable unit as they look to successfully defend their Premier League crown.

Chelsea are, therefore, set to trigger the Argentine’s €100 million release clause to poach him away from Inter Milan in January. The player, though, has his heart set on a move to Real Madrid, and is keen to make a dream move to the Bernabeu.

Los Blancos, though, have not yet registered their interest in Icardi, with Harry Kane believed to be their primary target. However, considering Karim Benzema’s continuing struggles in front of goal, it might not be a bad option to keep the 24-year-old as an alternative.

As far as Chelsea are concerned, the possibility of securing the services of Icardi in January is extremely unlikely, with Inter Milan involved in the Serie A title fight as well. It now remains to be seen if Conte and the Blues manage to persuade Icardi to make the mid-season switch to Stamford Bridge, come the winter transfer window.

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