Barcelona back in for Inter Milan ace
Barcelona are reportedly back in talks to sign Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez.
Barcelona and Inter have been in a back and forth concerning the Argentine striker in the past two seasons. Money, but most importantly, Internazionale's unwillingness to let Martinez go has been the obstacle for the Catalans in getting the deal through.
Martinez was touted as Luis Suarez's understudy and eventual replacement when the Uruguayan was still at Barcelona two seasons ago. Since then, Inter have lost Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea but got a hefty compensation of £98 million in return. They also signed Edin Dzeko from AS Roma.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have signed Memphis Depay for free from Olympique Lyonnais, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Arsenal, Ferran Torres from Manchester City and Luuk De Jong on loan from Sevilla.
Martinez continues to remain a subject between both clubs, and new reports now claim that they are back in discussions for the Argentine's transfer. It is alleged that despite Martinez's returns for the club, Inter believe he hasn't lived up to expectations and are looking now to cash in on him while he still has a contract.
Inter are also willing to lower his price tag and exchange players with Barcelona for the deal to happen if need be, with the Italian club's sights set on Depay and on-loan midfielder Miralem Pjanic.
The Catalan club are desperately in need of a striker who will be a long term replacement for Luis Suarez and fit into Xavi Hernandez's rebuilding vision. Having been priced out of landing Erling Haaland, who will cost upwards of €300 million, they have begun exploring several options.
Most recently, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski was 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 it is unlikely that Barcelona will pay the €70 - 80 million fee which Inter will be demanding, hence the Scudetto holders' touting of a player exchange.
Martinez, who has scored 15 goals in the league this term and is on course to surpass his personal best of 17, has a contract at the San Siro until 2026.
Elsewhere, Inter are also planning to let three players go for free in the summer.
Six players - Samir Handanovic, Danilo D’Ambrosio, Ivan Perisic, Andrea Ranocchia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Matias Vecino - all have contracts which will expire in the summer. Calciomercato reports that the club is planning to let three of them leave the club and keep the other three.
Samir Handanovic, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Ivan Perisic are the chosen ones while Andrea Ranocchia, Aleksandar Kolarov and Matias Vecino are the ones who will be moving on in the summer.
The club have already signed Ajax Amsterdam goalkeeper Andre Onana who is primed to take the number 1 spot from Handanovic. It is understood that the 37-year-old shot-stopper will play second fiddle and mentor to Onana in order to help him understand Inter club culture.
The details of the new offers for the three chosen players are not yet understood, but it is speculated that the club will offer them short-term extensions as they are all well into their 30s.
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