I've been covering European football long enough to know that most transfer rumors are, at best, loosely informed speculation and, at worst, complete garbage. Even with that realization, every now and then I run across a rumor that stops me in my tracks. So when I woke up this morning to the “news” that Roma and PSG were discussing a potential loan swap of Edin Dzeko and Mauro Icardi, my ears perked up—there's no denying it, Icardi has always had my attention.
After bursting onto the scene with Sampdoria in 2012—10 goals in 31 appearances as a 19-year-old—Icardi became a bonafide superstar once he moved to Inter Milan. In six years with Inter, Icardi scored an astounding 126 goals in all competitions before that relationship soured and he moved to PSG on a mega-money deal in the summer of 2019.
You may recall that Roma were briefly in the running for the then 26-year-old striker, who was part of a strange three-team/three-player dance between Juventus, Roma, and Inter for the services of Gonzalo Higuain, Edin Dzeko, and Icardi. Things got so crazy that Icardi issued an ultimatum to, well, the entire league, saying that if Juve didn't make a move for him by late August, he would sign for Roma.
That obviously never came to pass and Icardi opted for the Parisian capital, where he's toiled for the past two seasons, struggling to recapture his Inter form—or even his Sampdoria form, for that matter. In two seasons with PSG, Icardi has scored only 25 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions (That's still an impressive rate, but he's never been a regular starter, so the gross totals are a bit depressed compared to his time with Inter). Things have gotten so bleak for Icardi in Paris that he's recently fallen below Moise Kean in the pecking order, leading to speculation about his future with PSG.
All of which brings us to this:
According to Calciomercato, Roma GM Tiago Pinto has spoken to his opposite number in Paris, Leonardo, about a possible six-month loan swap of Dzeko and Icardi. Apparently, the swap talks for these disgruntled stars began last week, with PSG initially rejecting Roma's advances. While Calciomercato doesn't provide a timeline to these talks, they suggest that the clubs are still discussing this transfer and that PSG used the opportunity to try and include Lorenzo Pellegrini into the deal, which was quickly rebuffed by Roma.
In a straight sale, Roma could probably never afford Icardi (nor his salary), but as a short-term loan swap, taking on a presumably motivated Icardi could be quite the shot in the arm for Roma. And if he hits the ground running and clicks with his new teammates, then you cross that bridge come June—Roma has no shortage of young players that may tempt PSG.
Whatever comes to pass, it needs to happen quickly. With only four days remaining in the transfer window, Pinto needs to sort out this Dzeko mess, like, yesterday.
Update: Alexis Sanchez Now in Play
According to multiple sources in Italy, Roma are also engaged with Inter Milan in a similar loan-swap deal, one that would see Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez trade places. Due to their similar situations and salaries, this is likely a far easier transaction than landing Icardi.