Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli has claimed that Inter talisman Mauro Icardi is tempted by a summer switch to Real Madrid, as his side continue in their worrying slump of mid-season form.
Speaking to reporters at Buenos Aires airport, via Goal, the former Sevilla boss was questioned on Icardi's hopes of making his World Cup 2018 side, and claimed that Real Madrid's rumoured interest in signing the 24-year-old is reciprocal. Sampaoli said:
"It's a nice problem to have so many players in good form. I spoke with Icardi and told him what I've told all of them: not to relax, that, if he's doing well, he'll be called up. I know that Real Madrid are following him closely. He is also a little tempted by Real Madrid."
Given the wealth of attacking talents boasted by the national team, Icardi will be desperate to outshine is international teammates and earn his spot on the plane to Russia this summer. With the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Augero and Paulo Dybala all vying for a starting spot, Icardi will need to find some goalscoring form to stand any chance of appearing at the tournament.
Icardi has an excellent scoring record for the San Siro sleeping giants - having netted 96 times in 170 appearances. Given the ageing status of a number of their key players, Real Madrid look set to enter a period of transition as they begin to plan for the future. Icardi could well fit the bill at the Bernabéu, as his tenacious style of play certainly fits the requirements of Los Blancos.