Inter Milan chief executive Guiseppe Moratta is hoping Barcelona does not decide to pay Lautaro Martinez’s €111 million ($125m) release clause this summer
Moratta told Valerio Clari and Davide Stoppini at La Gazzetta dello Sport that he is not sure what the Catalan giants are thinking but is not ruling out the possibility of the striker leaving the San Siro.
“It is difficult to pronounce on his future at this moment, but I say to him – stay focused on the present, there is a season that resumes, there are goals to hit. There is no desire of the property to sell Lautaro. He is young, has the future of his own and is a functional element for [Antonio] Conte. Then, of course, there is a clause. I don’t know what Barcelona think, maybe they will also have alternatives. I hope they don’t pay the clause. If Lautaro [leaves], a top player will arrive.”
Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio has warned Barcelona they don’t want to negotiate and the only way they will be able to sign Martinez is to pay his buyout clause.
Yet the Catalan giants can’t afford such a high price and want to include players in the deal, according to Fabio Marchi at Mundo Deportivo. The club has offered €70 million ($78m) plus left-back Junior Firpo.
Martinez Tipped for the Top
Barcelona are keen to bring in Martinez to ultimately replace 33-year-old striker Luis Suarez, and the Inter Milan star is being tipped to become one of the world’s best in his position.
Former Inter star Diego Milito told Infobae he thinks the 22-year-old has a big future ahead of him and will fit in nicely alongside Lionel Messi at the Camp Nou.
“I think he is very happy at Inter, one of the biggest teams in the world. But if you have to go to Barcelona, I wish you the best. It will be great for him. How could he not gel with Messi? I’m convinced he can play with Leo. He’s done it for Argentina. Lautaro will be a top player during the next decade, he’s got everything to make that happen.”
Martinez has enjoyed a strong season in 2019-20 with Inter Milan and has 16 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions for Antonio Conte’s side.
Barca Told to Choose Between Martinez and Neymar
Barcelona has also been linked with a move to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou this summer from PSG. The Brazilian has told his team-mates at the French club he wants to return to his former side, according to Roger Torello at Mundo Deportivo.
Yet it seems highly unlikely the Catalans can afford Martinez and Neymar in the current financial climate, and they have been told to choose between the pair by former star Rivaldo in his column for Betfair.
“The strong interest Barca seem to have in Lautaro could mean they have to give up on the signing of Neymar. Because it’s impossible to sign them both at the same time. The club must focus on signing one of them. Either would be a great signing, but they have to assess the amounts and the wishes of Setien. Ask him: ‘which position do you really want to strengthen?'”
Barcelona already know what Neymar can do. The Brazilian won the Champions League and two La Liga titles during his four years with the club. Yet Neymar has struggled with injuries in recent seasons, while Martinez is six years younger and looks to have a big future ahead of him.