Barcelona have been hit with a double blow in their bid to replace striker Luis Suarez this summer.
The Catalan giants have been linked with moves for Lyon captain Memphis Depay and Inter’s Lautaro Martinez, but both clubs have highlighted their desire to keep hold of their attackers.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has insisted that he is not expecting Depay, who is into the final year of his contract with the Ligue 1 side, to depart the club ahead of the new season.
“Memphis could have left in August, but now he should stay with us in 2020/21. Contrary to what I have read, there have been no exchanges with Barca, I do not think that it is in Lyon’s interest to allow their captain to leave after this truncated season by the LFP.”
The forward has told NOS that he “knows there is interest” in his signature this summer but he “hasn’t heard much more from my agent.” Depay has been on international duty with the Netherlands but will now return to Lyon.
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Inter Not Talking to Barcelona Either
Barcelona’s desire to land Martinez is hardly going any better. Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti has told TyC Sports that his club are not in talks with the Catalan giants regarding a move for the 23-year-old.
“Right now there is no negotiation with Barcelona for Lautaro. When there are good players and they are so young, it is normal for other big clubs to look at him. I see him wanting to continue his experience in Italy.”
“We are very happy with Lautaro and he is very happy at Inter. He knows that he is in a great club and here he is growing a lot thanks to the great work of our coach. We have played 18 games in two months and he has been in almost all of them.”
Barcelona now view the possibility of signing Martinez as “almost impossible,” according to Mundo Deportivo’s Fernando Polo. The coronavirus pandemic and the club’s decision to allow players such as Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez, and Arturo Vidal to leave for nominal fees means it’s financially difficult.
Suarez One Step Away from Juve
Meanwhile, Suarez is close to leaving Barcelona after six years at the Camp Nou. The Uruguay international is wanted by Atletico and Juventus but has already agreed a three-year deal with Serie A champions Juventus, according to Goal’s Romeo Agresti.
The striker must also pass a language exam in order to gain an Italian passport before he can complete his move to the Turin giants. Suarez is expected to take the test some time this week.
Suarez’s departure will free up some space on the wage bill, but it’s not clear if Barca will be able to bring in a replacement or will look to use Antoine Griezmann or Ansu Fati as a No. 9 instead next season.