Inter have replaced Mauro Icardi with Samir Handanovic as captain amid increased uncertainty over the Argentina striker’s future.
Icardi has a contract with the Nerazzurri until 2021 but continues to be linked with a move, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United all having been credited with an interest.
Speaking last month, Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda Nara insisted he would sign a renewal.
However, that has done little to assuage doubts over his future and head coach Luciano Spalletti – speaking after a 1-0 win over Parma at the weekend – expressed his frustration.
“I have not created any problems for Icardi,” Spalletti told DAZN.
“Issues need to be clarified, because when you leave things half-cooked, they become open to interpretation.
“People have said a few too many things, now there is time to sit down and talk about something we’ve avoided and dragged along with us for months.”
The situation became more unclear when Nara, speaking on the Tiki Taka show, said: “I would like Mauro to be more protected by the club because sometimes some bad things come from inside.”
Inter have not explained their reasons for taking the armband off Icardi, but the move is sure to only increase speculation.
Reports of Icardi losing the captaincy took an unusual turn on Tuesday when Inter’s Spanish Twitter account displayed a picture of him handing the armband to Lautaro Martinez, accompanied by the “soon” emoji, which was later deleted.