Barcelona has taken a step closer to completing the signing of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez following personal terms negotiated between the two parties, reports say. The Catalan giants expect the Argentine forward to be a long-term heir to 33-year-old Luis Suarez.
When the Coronavirus pandemic stopped the 2019/2020 season, Martinez was in excellent form for Antonio Conte’s side.
The 22-year-old scored 16 goals and made 31 appearances in all competitions with four assists-including five strikes against Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, and Slavia Prague in the Champions League.
His exploits have been linked to his services by Premier League duo Manchester United and Chelsea.
But journalist Nicolo Schira reports that Barcelona is a leading contender having signed a contract with Martinez. The player will earn £205,000 a week and performance bonuses to join compatriot Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp.
Barcelona has already seen a rejection of their £53 m plus Arturo Vidal and Nelson Semedo.
The official position of Inter is that any prospective suitor would cause the £98 m release clause of Martinez, although Schira claims that the club will consider around £80 m plus an additional player.
“Full agreement between Lautaro Martinez and Barcelona for a €12M annual salary + bonuses,” wrote Schira on Twitter.
“Barcelona will now reach an agreement with Inter in the coming weeks asking for the clause (€111 M) but with €90 M + a player will accept it. The last bid (rejected) in Barcelona was €60 M + Vidal and Semedo.”
In the upcoming transfer window, Martinez looks likely to abandon the San Siro and is eager to link up with Messi.
Yet his former Argentina Under-32 coach Fernando Batista says that due to a lack of consistent first-team play his former pupil simply decided to leave the last year.