Depleted Paris Saint-Germain pick up star striker Icardi on loan

Paris (AFP) –


Argentine striker Mauro Icardi, unwanted at Inter Milan, joined Paris Saint-Germain late on Monday in a loan, "with an option to buy" the Parisian club said.

Icardi was the joint top-scorer in Serie A in 2017-18 with 29 goals. But last season, he was stripped of the club captaincy amid a contract dispute and later barred from full training. He had reportedly started legal action against the club.

PSG needed a striker urgently. They will probably be without their entire first-choice attack for their opening Champions League game against Real Madrid on September 18.

Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani might return from injury before the second group match. Neymar, who still has not appeared for the club this season, is suspended for three European games, so would not be available even if he were in a fit state, physically and mentally, to play.

While Neymar failed to get his wish and move in the transfer window, Icardi has escaped his soured relationship with Inter Milan.

Media in Italy and France estimate PSG's buy option for the 26-year-old is for 70 million euros.

Icardi joined Inter in 2013 and scored 120 goals in just over 220 matches for the club before contract talks turned nasty.

"Paris Saint-Germain have become an international football powerhouse, attracting some of the greatest players in recent years," Icardi told the club website, adding: "I will give everything to help my new team."

Icardi was PSG's second big-name signing of the day.

Goalkeeper Keylor Navas joined from Real Madrid, with the French international Alphonse Areola loaned in the opposite direction.

Navas, a 32-year-old Costa Rican who won the Champions League three times in Madrid, signed on a four year deal. While no fee has been confirmed, the Spanish press say it is 15 million euros ($16.5 million).

Areola, 26, will take over the role of backing up the suddenly error-prone Thibaut Courtois.