Chelsea target Mauro Icardi has reportedly been offered a lucrative new contract by Inter Milan to keep him from the clutches of the Premier League leaders.
The Blues are long-term admirers and, according to TuttoSport, even had a verbal agreement in place to snap up the attacker at the turn of the year.
However, SportMediaset claims the Serie A heavyweights are in talks with the player and his representatives with a view to securing his services until 2019, with a significant pay rise and image rights on the table.
The 22-year-old has scored 18 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions for Roberto Mancini’s side this term.
He could be seen as the long-term replacement for Chelsea veteran Didier Drogba, who is approaching the end of his contract at Stamford Bridge.
The Ivorian enjoys legendary status at the west London club but, at the age of 37, time is against him and he could depart on a free transfer during the summer transfer window, or quit playing and stay on in an ambassadorial capacity.
Argentine Icardi currently has three years left on his present deal at the San Siro.