Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has admitted transfer talks with Inter over a move for striker Lautaro Martinez have stalled.
The Argentina international is believed to be Barca’s top target this summer, but Bartomeu has told TV3 the club will now wait until the end of the season to discuss their next moves in the transfer market.
“We talked about Lautaro with Inter a few weeks ago but now the issue is stopped. Now we are not talking about it. We have to finish the League and the Champions League and see what the priorities are.
“It is also a time for internal reflection to clarify how the crisis is affecting the club. It is a market in which you can not think of large investments. We need to see when people can return to the fields, tourists to the museum. We have to wait and see how it all evolves.”
Barcelona are heading into the last week of their La Liga season but will play a Champions League last-16 second leg tie with Napoli on August 8. If they were to progress they would head into the quarter-finals of the tournament. The final is scheduled for August 23.
Talks on Hold Until August?
Barcelona and Inter will resume discussions over a move for Martinez at the end of the season, according to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.
The break may prove beneficial to Barcelona. Martinez has already agreed personal terms but any move is dependent on the Catalans selling Philippe Coutinho, according to ESPN’s Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden.
Coutinho has spent the season on loan with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich who have decided against activating the purchase option in his contract.
Junior Firpo Could Be Included
Barcelona could be willing to include Junior Firpo in any deal to sign Martinez this summer. According to Cadena SER, the Catalan giants could offer €70 million-plus the left-back for the Inter striker.
Firpo only arrived at Barcelona last summer from Real Betis but has had a tough first season at the Camp Nou and has struggled to provide competition for Jordi Alba at left-back.
Including the 23-year-old in the deal would be a way of getting the price down and may also allow the two clubs to finally reach an agreement that suits all parties.