Icardi – Mauro Icardi, according to Wikipedia, was born in Rosario, Argentina but moved to Spain when he was 6. His youth career began at Vecindario – a team that I have never heard of. When he was 15 he went to Barcelona, where at 1.81m I am I am only half jokingly willing to bet he was one of the tallest people there. He was there for 3 seasons on the U17 and U19 teams. In January 2011 he went to Sampdoria on loan where he joined their youth setup. He scored over 10 goals in the remaining second half of the youth team’s season and that impressed the Italian team enough to buy his entire rights for €400,000 and he joined the team on a 3 year contract. A year later he would score his first senior team goal at the end of the season, remember this was in Serie B.
Last season he exploded in Serie A at the ripe old age of 19. What has captured the imagination of directors all around Italy, is that he has been able to play in 31 out of 38 games – and most of the games he missed occurred in the first 4 games of last season. That is really impressive considering his age. And his body stood the test pretty well, knock on wood. He also scored 10 goals – although many might point out that he clumped them quite a bit, scoring 6 goals in 2 games – and scoring all his goals in 6 games. What goes forgotten a little bit is that he also contributed to the team’s success with 4 assists. All in all, he’s quite a prospect and by all accounts willing to play hard.
Icardi’s rights are not solely the property of Inter as the club secured half the rights for €6 million.
Belfodil – Ishak Belfodil, again according to Wikipedia, was born in Mostaganem, Algeria. He bounced around quite a bit in his youth career, but at 16ish he was in the OL setup. He would play in 10 games. He shipped off to Bologna on a loan in 2012 where he recorded 8 appearances with no goals. I don’t know if Bologna had a chance to buy his rights, but when he returned to OL his rights were then sold to Parma for €2.5 million.
His career at Parma mirrored Icardi at least in the stats department. He recorded 34 games in all competitions, 8 goals and 5 assists. Ishak has played in all French National Team youth levels starting at U17 up to U20, however he was recorded an Algerian player by FIFA in 2012. Critics of Ishak state that in the last 16 games of the season he scored 1 goal and most of his stats were built up before Jan 20, 2012. However, looking at transfermarkt.com he hasn’t been playing as a center forward since mid February. According to tansfermarkt.com, he’s been classified as a left winger since then and that may have contributed to his late season dry spell. He certainly didn’t suffer a lack of playing time.
Half his rights were shipped to Inter for €7.5 million plus the encouragement of Cassano going the other way on loan/contract for 3 years, I think.
More coming up…