Argentinian striker Lautaro Martinez’s reputation has shot up this season through his performances for Inter Milan. The 22-year-old has formed a deadly partnership up front with new arrival Romelu Lukaku, allowing manager Antonio Conte to field his favoured back three formation and still have two strikers up front – the pair clearly stopped finding time to visit allvideoslots and to spend more time on the training pitch linking up.
Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter at the time the football season was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with 11 of those coming in the league, and those performances have prompted a flurry of transfer interest. Manchester United are one of the clubs who have been credited with an interest, with Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal also mentioned in dispatches. However, it seems as if La Liga giants Barcelona have the upper hand if any transfer was to materialize in the summer, and they are now willing to let go of one of their own new recruits in order to get the deal over the line.
Junior Firpo arrived at the Camp Nou last summer from Real Betis for a fee that could potentially be as high as £27.5 million, but has struggled to get into the team. The left-back has made just 17 appearances this season, as incumbent Jordi Alba has proved almost impossible to dislodge, and now, if reports are to be believed, he could be a makeweight in Barca’s attempts to land Martinez.
Barca value him at €20 million, and so would obviously need to pay a fee as well if they want to sign Martinez. The Argentinian is being valued as high as €100 million, while some reports say that he has a £92 million release clause. In any case, Barcelona would need to pay a significant fee for him, even if they manage to include Firpo in the deal. Further, letting go of the Spaniard would mean that they would need to go back into the market to sign another left-back, as he is the only back-up to Alba in the squad at the moment. Inter would need to be interested in signing him as well, and with Cristiano Biraghi, Kwadwo Asamoah and Ashley Young on the books already, it is unlikely that Conte would want another player for that position. If reports are to be believed, Inter would only be interested in a player-plus-cash deal if the likes of Arthur or Clement Lenglet would be included, which is extremely unlikely.
While Barcelona’s attempts to sign Martinez on a reduced fee are praiseworthy, they may need to offer a juicier carrot than Firpo to get Inter to snap at the deal, especially as selling the full-back will leave a hole for them to fill in their own squad as well.