Barcelona are reportedly back in talks to sign Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.
Barcelona and Inter have been going back and forth regarding the Argentine striker in the past two seasons. Money, but more importantly, Inter’s unwillingness to let Martinez go has been an obstacle for the Catalans to seal the deal.
Martinez has been described as Luis Suarez’s substitute and finisher when the Uruguayan was still at Barcelona two seasons ago. Since then, Inter’s Romelu Lukaku has lost to Chelsea but received a whopping £98m compensation in return. They also signed with Edin Dzeko of Rome.
On the other hand, Barcelona signed Memphis Depay for free from Olympique Lyonnais, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal, Ferran Torres from Manchester City and Luke de Jong on loan from Sevilla.
Martinez remains a topic between the two clubs, and new reports now claim they are back in discussions over the Argentine’s transfer. It is alleged that despite Martinez returning to the club, Inter believe he has not lived up to expectations and are now looking to cash in on him while he still has a contract.
Inter are also willing to lower his price and exchange players with Barcelona in order to seal the deal if necessary, with the Italian club’s sights set on Depay and loaned midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
The Catalans badly need a striker who will be a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez and fit in with Xavi Hernandez’s vision of rebuilding. After the Erling Haaland landing price, which would cost upwards of €300 million, ran out, they began exploring several options.
Recently, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has been linked to the club, as well as Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak and a few other strikers.
Martinez is now back in the discussions, but Barcelona are unlikely to pay the €70-80m fee that Inter will demand, hence the Scudetto holders promoting player exchanges.
Martinez, who has netted 15 league goals this season and is on track to surpass his top 17, has a contract at the San Siro until 2026.
Elsewhere, Inter is also planning to let three players go for free in the summer.
Six players – Samir Handanovic, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Ivan Perisic, Andrea Ranuccia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Matias Vecino – all have contracts that expire in the summer. Calcircato Reports said the club is planning to allow three of them to leave the club and keep the other three.
Samir Handanovic, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Ivan Perisic are the picks while Andrea Ranucchia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Matias Vecino are the movers in the summer.
The club has already signed Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana who is poised to take the top spot from Handanovic. It is understood that the 37-year-old goalkeeper will play the role of second mentor and mentor to Onana in order to help him understand the culture of Inter.
Details of the new offers for the three selected players are not yet understood, but the club is expected to offer them short-term extensions as they are all in their 30s.