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Sizing up the Mauro Icardi replacements

Mauro Icardi, who has proven himself to be Inter's only bona fide star this season, may be leaving Inter come season's end. We look at a few of the players who could fill his spot come June.

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

When you look at the top goalscorers in the top five European leagues, you will notice a familiar Inter player's name: Mauro Icardi. Across the PL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and Serie A, Icardi stands out as a top-ten goalscoreer in all competitions (with 13), and is also the youngest player on the list.

(stats valid as of Feb. 9, 2015; image courtesy Sempre Inter)

That in itself is very encouraging and very exciting. Inter's form as a side has not always been excellent this season, but Icardi has still been able to consistently find the back of the net.

But soon after this realization will likely come a sinking of the heart, because the Argentine striker has been rumored to be on the transfer block come season's end. Summer is coming, which means Chelsea and Liverpool are also coming and will likely offer the player a wad of cash, that may just be too much for Icardi (and Inter) to resist. So I guess that means it's time to speculate about who could possibly replace Icardi if he leaves for greener pitches come June.

Khouma Babacar is one recent name that has been suggested. The 21-year-old Fiorentina striker has done well in Giuseppe Rossi's absence, scoring 5 in 15 appearances for the Viola. He would clearly be a step down from Icardi in terms of star-power and sheer goal-scoring (at least based on what he has shown so far), but could be a strong addition to an experienced core of strikers.

Aside from the Senegalese forward, Inter have also been monitoring Manchester City forward Edin Dzeko and Olympique Marseille's Andre Pierre Gignac (who also features in 10 scorers list above, with 16 goals). These two options would be similar to each other, and quite different from Babacar. In either Dzeko or Gignac, Inter would gain an experienced striker with demonstrated consistency at a top European club.

Based on these three options, Babacar would be the *most* like-for-like replacement to Icardi, at least in terms of his youth and projected ability. If Inter desire to go the more experienced route, both Gignac and Dzeko would be solid options.

It's important to keep in mind that this is all just speculation at the moment, and Icardi could very well be staying in Milan for at least one more season. But as fans of this club, we must always keep an eye on the horizon.