The latest big name rumored to be talking to David Beckham about joining Inter Miami? Mauro Icardi, the Argentine star forward who plays for Inter Milan in Italy.
Icardi, 26, has been at Inter since 2013 and was the team captain, but is reportedly on the market this summer after a disappointing drama-filled season and coaching change. Italian media has reported that new coach Antonio Conte is not too fond of Icardi, who is tied with former great Christian Vieri as Inter’s at No. 8 on Inter’s all-time scoring list with 123 goals.
Icardi was stripped of the captain’s armband in February after his wife, Argentine model/T.V. personality Wanda Nara (who is also his manager) made controversial comments about the team’s front-office dealings and questioned coaching decisions during her weekly guest spot on the show “Tiki Taka.”
Nara openly discussed her husband’s contract talks on the show, which angered management. Italian and Argentine media reported that Inter Miami was a possible destination for the Argentine, but Inter Miami officials have said they will not discuss potential signings and one source said the team is not interested. Also, Inter Milan sued Inter Miami over trademark issues, so doesn’t seem they’d be the likeliest partners for a deal.
Meanwhile, still no word on Barcelona and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, whom Inter Miami is said to be pursuing.
According to Catalunya Radio, Inter Miami made an offer to Suarez for a four-year deal, and he has not yet made a decision whether to take it. Suarez, who would be 33 when Inter Miami launches in March 2020, is among the game’s most prolific scorers with over 400 goals for club and country.
He has won the European Golden Shoe award for top goal scorer two times, in 2013-14 and 2015-16. He won the Premier League Golden Boot while playing for Liverpool. A fan favorite all over the world, he has 33.6 million Instagram followers, which would instantly make him the most high-profile athlete in South Florida.
A few weeks ago, Inter Miami co-owner Jorge Mas said the team planned to sign three marquee players, was already deeply involved in contract talks and planned to announce their first big signing “by the end of the summer.”
“This is a city and team that is going to attract players who play in some of the best leagues in the world,” Mas said. “For us it’s important to bring the best players we can. First of all, to have a team that represents our city, that plays an exciting, attractive, offensive-oriented style of soccer with a lot of goal scoring. We are very excited and impressed by the amount of interest we’ve received from players who are in the world’s best leagues who want to be part of this team, a lot because of the relationship with David.”
Beckham, who was in Fort Lauderdale meeting the club’s youth academy players, said he was getting calls daily from players around the world interested in joining his team.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Beckham said, of the intense interest. He also stressed that they are not looking for a player in the twilight of his career, but rather one in his prime.
“We all know how great Miami is as a place to live with your family, but we don’t want players just coming here at the end of their career thinking, `Oh, let’s go have a couple of years in Miami and I’ll play a little bit of soccer,’’’ Beckham said. “That’s not what we want. We want players who are hungry, who have played at the top level but still want to win. Not at a time where they’re looking for retirement in a great place like Miami.”
“We are looking for players who are winners. We want our team to play attractive, exciting football because that’s what Miami’s all about. People don’t want to come watch us and see a nil-nil draw. We want attacking football and are looking for that type of player.”
Other players who have been linked to talks with Inter Miami include Daniel De Rossi, Hector Moreno, Cristiano Ronaldo, Radamel Falcao, and James Rodriguez.