Newcastle United Eye Move for Out of Favour Inter Full Back Valentino Lazaro

​Newcastle United are close to completing a deal to bring Inter’s ​Valentino Lazaro to the club on loan for the rest of the 2019/20 season. 

It is reported that Lazaro’s agent, Max Hagmayr, travelled to Newcastle on Saturday to begin contract negotiations on behalf of his client. It is understood that the nature of the deal is a short-term loan, with an option to buy at the end of the loan period. 

Valentino Lazaro

As reported by Gazzetta dello Sport on Sunday, the move is said to be ‘close’. Newcastle are thought to be paying €2m to bring the right-sided midfielder to Tyneside, and they will have the option to make it a permanent deal for €20m in the summer.

The 23-year-old Austrian international has featured just four times for Inter under Antonio Conte this season after he joined from Hertha BSC in July.

However, with playing time limited, and I​nter closing in on the signing of ​Victor Moses from Chelsea, Newcastle have made their move to bolster their squad. 

Isaac Hayden,Steve Bruce

Newcastle have recently welcomed back a host first-team regulars to the fold after a lengthy injury list developing over the Christmas period, but are still set to be without both of their left back options for the forseable future. 

However, after Steve Bruce’s ​recent comments over potential January signings, Newcastle clearly view Lazaro as a player that, first and foremost, has the quality to compete for a position in the starting XI.

Next up for Steve Bruce’s side is a trip to Goodison Park on Tuesday to take on Everton, before hosting Championship side Oxford United at St. James’ Park in the fourth round of the FA Cup next weekend. 

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Why Ashley Young Can Help Jittery Inter to End Their Wait For Serie A Glory (Yes, That Ashley Young)

​As one era comes to an end at Old Trafford, another is just beginning at San Siro. Antonio Conte has built his Inter side around the marquee signing of ex-Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku, who has repaid his boss with 14 goals in 20 league appearances.

The forward’s budding relationship with strike partner Lautaro Martinez has propelled Inter into an unexpected title race with Juventus and dark horses Lazio, but I Nerazzurri have been in this high-pressure situation before – and crumbled.

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The Milan club have a habit of starting their campaigns in competent fashion, but their early promise has regularly tailed off into eventual disappointment. Inter’s recurring nightmares even came back to haunt them in the Champions League, where Conte’s side threw away a wonderful opportunity to qualify from a tough group. 

Speaking after a crushing defeat to ​Barce​lona, the Italian boss lamented his side’s lack of experience at the highest level, and called for his sporting director to recruit leaders with a winning mentality.

The ​ex-Chelsea boss has also struggled to find a suitable candidate to carry out with all-important wing-back roles on both sides of the pitch, with wingers Matteo Politano and Valentino Lazaro not quite adapting sufficiently to Conte’s liking. 

The wide-men in Conte’s 3-5-2 system are crucial to his team’s success, and when carried out to the letter, it can turn unfashionable misfits into cult heroes – just ask Marcos Alonso and ​Victor Moses. 

Victor Moses

Inter are slowly slipping behind ​Juve in the Serie A table, and I Nerazzurri’s winter collapse is in full swing. Their new coach has instilled a new-found confidence within his troops, but they are showing signs of their fragility and inferiority complex. 

Old habits die hard. 

When the going gets tough, that seed of doubt creeps back into the Inter minds, and as demonstrated in their draw against Atalanta and their tie with Lecce on Sunday, the nerves that swirl around their supporters can cripple their stars. 

And so that brings us nicely along to January.

Eyebrows were raised when ​Inter surfaced as front-runners to bring Christian Eriksen to Serie A at the end of his contract, and they almost flew off entirely when Ashley Young was mentioned as a likely January addition. 

But whist the ​Eriksen deal drags on, their attempts to lure Young to Milan were successful. Young joined I Nerazzurri on a two-year deal, and he could find himself thrown immediately into action. 

Ashley Young

Inter have been held in back-to-back game in the league and have lost ground on leaders Juve, but there is plenty of time for Conte’s men to improve their stuttering form. Lukaku has always shown his best form in and around the penalty area and, while I Nerazzurri whip plenty of balls into the box, there can be a serious lack of genuine quality in their deliveries. 

Cristiano Biraghi and Antonio Candreva cannot be faulted for their effort and endeavour, but ‘hit and miss’ is a kind expression to describe their crossing capabilities. Young’s signing could have been made with that very scenario in mind, as the former ​Aston Villa star was often regarded as one of the best crossers of the ball in the Premier League over the past decade. 

There is no denying that Conte would have killed for one of Young’s trademark whipped, in-swinging crosses in the final moments against Lecce on Sunday afternoon, as his side pushed desperately for a late winner. 

With two predators lurking in the box in Martinez and Lukaku, the wing-back has much more lethal targets to aim at than at his previous club (apart from the two years he spent with, erm, Lukaku, obviously). 

Lautaro Martinez,Romelu Lukaku

And then there is Young’s character and standing within the game. As with many Man Utd stars, the versatile defender has become a figure of derision on social media, but his trophy cabinet would beg to differ. 

The 34-year-old played his part in the Red Devils’ title success in 2013, and he has grown into a leader within a squad that has been built by a number of different managers, and appears completely disjointed. 

A glance at Chris Smalling’s rise from ‘butt of all jokes’ to ‘respected voice in the Roma dressing room’ highlights the respect that ​Man Utd players command among those in Italy, and how little the language barrier can affect a star’s influence over his fellow teammates. 

Young can provide a wise, calm head among a group of players whose biggest rival is their own fears, and deliver Inter’s first title in almost a decade. 

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Lecce 1-1 Inter: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Nerazzurri Falter Once More in Title Charge

​Inter faltered once more in their bid to regain the Serie A title as they were held to a 1-1 draw away at Lecce on Sunday afternoon.

Despite the hosts setting up with a deep back five and a compact midfield three, they weren’t afraid to commit men forward in transition early on and they spurned a great chance to take the lead – Marco Mancosu, Lecce’s leading scorer this season, blazing his close-range effort horribly wide.

After Lecce had frustrated Antonio Conte’s men in the opening 20 minutes, Inter started to have more joy in the attacking third and they should’ve taken the lead through Marcelo Brozovic on two occasions, but a combination of the post and Lecce shot-stopper Gabriel kept out the Croatian after he’d linked up well with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez respectively.

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As the Nerazzuri continued to probe, it looked like they were dealt a sucker punch on the stroke of half time with Stefano Sensi penalised for handling inside the area. However, after another look at the incident via the pitchside monitor, referee Piero Giacomelli decided to overturn his original decision.

The home side started the second half brightly going forward and their rearguard action defensively continued to frustrate Conte’s Scudetto chasers.

The visitors were eventually rewarded for their relentless pressure, however, as substitute Alessandro Bastoni headed home emphatically from a wonderful Cristiano Biraghi cross from the left. 


Lecce struck an equaliser soon after, though, as Mancosu atoned for his earlier miss by tapping home expertly on the volley from Zan Majer’s cross from the left after the initial break looked to have broken down.

Inter continued to dominate territorially while Lecce remained a threat in transition, but after Filippo Falco struck his free kick against the post with ten minutes to go, neither side were able to create anything clear-cut as Inter were forced to settle for yet another draw.


LECCE

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Gabriel (8); Rispoli (6), Dell’Orco (6), Lucioni (8), Rossetini (8), Donati (5); Deiola (6), Petrioccione (8), Mancosu (7); Lapadula (6), Babacar (7).

Subs: Majer (7), Falco (6), Meccariello (6).


INTER 

Key Talking Point

Inter’s indifferent recent form in Serie A continues, as they’ve now drawn three of their last five league outings and could be five points adrift of Juventus by Monday morning in the race for the Scudetto. 

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While they dominated throughout, the Nerazzurri often lacked penetration and creativity in the final third – failing to regularly trouble Gabriel in the Lecce net. Both Sensi and Nicolo Barella are yet to reach the heights of their pre-injury form and until they find their groove, Conte will continue to rely on individual brilliance from his front two – something that we didn’t see in this game.

Out of possession, we didn’t see the typical high and intense Conte press as Lecce often played out of the back with relative ease. When Inter did press high, their midfielders were often bypassed, creating a huge gap between defence and midfield – making them vulnerable to the Lecce counter. 

Another worrying performance for Conte, who will certainly feel the urgent need to strengthen his squad this month if they are to compete with Juve and Lazio for the remainder of the season.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Handanovic (6); Godin (7), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (6); Candreva (5), Barella (5), Brozovic (6), Sensi (6), Biraghi (6); Lautaro (6), Lukaku (7*).

Subs: Bastoni (7), Sanchez (5), Valero (6).


Romelu Lukaku

On what was a disappointing afternoon for the Nerazzurri, Romelu Lukaku enjoyed another fine display amid his excellent run of form. 

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While he wasn’t able to get on the scoresheet, the Belgian proved a difficult proposition for the impressive Lecce backline as his ability to play with his back to goal was almost impossible to stop. 

He created a couple of chances for his strike partner Lautaro with some tidy work of one and two touches while he set up Brozovic for a glorious chance in the opening half – holding the ball up brilliantly in the Lecce box before completing the one-two with the onrushing Croatian.

It was another game where Lukaku’s superb ‘target man’ skill set was on full display.


Looking Ahead

Inter take on Cagliari – a side they beat 4-1 in the Coppa Italia last week – next Sunday in Serie A while Lecce travel to Verona to take on Italy’s surprise package from the first half of the campaign.


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5 Inter Players Who Could Break Through in 2020

Inter have had a great season, so far.

Antonio Conte’s side sit second in Serie A and look genuinely capable of dethroning Juventus as Italian champions.

Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez have formed a world-class strike partnership​ while they also have the meanest defence in the league having conceded only 16 goals in 19 league games so far.

FC Internazionale v Genoa CFC - Serie A

But it could get even better for Conte and I Nerazzurri in 2020 as they have a few players that could break out on to the world stage and secure that first league title since 2010.

Here are five players to look out for in 2020 from the San Siro side.


Lucien Agoumé

Lucien Agoume

The 17-year-old joined Inter from Sochaux for roughly €4m and has already made his debut for the senior side in a 1-1 draw with Fiorentina in Serie A.

However, this is the year that Agoumé is primed to breakthrough onto the global stage with Conte putting more faith in the France youth international. He is a classy, ball-playing central midfielder who is capable of dictating games from the centre of the park.

Given more game time in 2020, there is no reason why the youngster could become a permanent feature in this Inter side throughout the year.


Matías Fonseca

Matias Fonseca

Fonseca actually started his youth career with main rivals AC Milan before Inter were able to snatch him away at the age of 15.

He hasn’t looked back since and is starring for the Primavera side this season. The 18-year-old has bagged a total of 10 goals in all competitions including four in the UEFA Youth League proving he is capable of scoring goals on the continent.

Lukaku and Martínez currently lead the way for this Inter side – but it means that the likes of Fonseca can learn from some of the best in the game.


Sebastiano Esposito

Sebastiano Esposito

2002. Let that sink in. Esposito was born in 2002. He’s 17 years old and has just scored his first Serie A goal for Inter Milan after ​Lukaku let him take a penalty in Inter’s 4-0 win over Genoa.

He was just 16 when he made his debut for Inter in the Europa League against Eintracht Frankfurt last March. He hasn’t had much game time due to the form of Lukaku and Martinez but the teenager has got the appetite for goals there could be no stopping him.

Also, if you are to believe the rumours that Martinez might be on his way out in the summer then Esposito could become ever more prominent throughout 2020.


Thomas Schirò

Thomas Schiro

Thomas Schirò might well be the most talented youngster that you’ve never heard of. The 19-year-old is a main feature of Inter’s Primavera team and it is easy to understand why.

From central midfield, he has bagged himself six goals in 12 games adding another assist to that during the season. He has also appeared four times for Italy’s Under-19 team.

While the likes of Esposito and Agoumé are already making their mark on this Inter side, Schirò is one that could fly under the radar a bit. But in 2020, this Italian is primed to breakthrough.


Lorenzo Pirola

Valencia CF v FC Internazionale - Pre-Season Friendly


Pirola could quite be the next Italian centre back to break through in Serie A. At only 17 too, he is showing the potential to become a world-class defender.

The Italian has featured in 14 games for Inter’s youth side this season impressing throughout. Capable of finding a killer through ball from defence but also making important challenges, Pirola has all the ingredients to become the next in a long line of brilliant Italian centre backs.

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Inter Boss Antonio Conte Keen to Reunite With Chelsea Outcast Victor Moses

Italian giants ​Inter are eyeing a move for Chelsea outcast Victor Moses, as Antonio Conte aims to bolster his defensive options after failing to sign Roma defender Leonardo Spinazzola. 

Spinazzola looked set to join Antonio Conte’s side in a swap deal which involved winger Matteo Politano making a move to Roma, but I Giallorossi pulled the plug on the agreement when Inter attempted to change the originally agreed terms. 

Victor Moses

The breakdown in the deal means that Conte’s hunt for another full-back goes on, and ​Goal reports that the ex-Chelsea coach is keen to bring his former player Victor Moses to San Siro in the January transfer window. 

​The Blues are likely to demand a fee of around €10m for Moses’ services, and the versatile star has returned to London to discuss his future with his representatives and the London club. 

​Moses has spent the first half of the season on loan at Fenerbahce, but his playing-time has been severely limited by a thigh muscle injury he suffered early on in his stint in the Süper Lig. The 29-year-old has made only six league appearances for the Turkish giants, but Conte is convinced that the pair can reunite to devastating effect once more.

The Italian boss was in charge of Chelsea during Moses’ best spell at Stamford Bridge, helping the Blues to cruise to the league title in Conte’s first season at the club. The ​ex-Liverpool star was a key component in the Chelsea side, making 34 appearances over the course of the 2016/17 campaign. 

Sergio Aguero,Victor Moses

Conte is desperate to reinforce his wide-area options over the coming weeks, and the Italian giants recently completed the signing of ​Manchester United captain Ashley Young.

​Inter are locked in an intense title race with Juventus and Lazio at the top of Serie A, as Conte hopes to deliver the club’s first league success since 2010. 

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Frank Lampard Speaks Out on Olivier Giroud Transfer Amid Inter & West Ham Links

Chelsea manager ​Frank Lampard has admitted that striker Olivier Giroud could be set for a move away from Stamford Bridge this January, with Inter reportedly close to a deal.

With his game-time limited this season, Giroud is looking for a move away ahead of the summer’s European Championships, as he eyes more first-team opportunities. 

Olivier Giroud

While the likes of West Ham have also been linked, Inter appear closest to securing a deal for Giroud, with ​reports even claiming that the player has already agreed personal terms to switch to San Siro.

Lampard spoke to the press on Friday ahead of his side’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United, and admitted that the 33-year-old could well leave this January. 

As quoted by ​Football London, he said: “​Olivier Giroud, we all know there may be something that can happen. The good thing about Oli is that he is so experienced.

“I have a good relationship with him as does the club so again, if all circumstances are right it could happen. Whilst it is not, he is our player.”

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It is thought that ​Inter boss Antonio Conte is keen on signing a striker to offer support to the deadly duo of Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku. 

Talk earlier in the week claimed Giroud will sign a two-and-a-half-year contract at San Siro, with Inter paying a fee of €5m plus add-ons to Chelsea.

Giroud – who has made just two starts this season – has proven to be a very solid ​Premier League player for a number of years now, bagging 78 goals in the league, despite some unfair criticism from fans. His experience and superb link-up play could prove to be a fantastic asset for Inter, or another team in the second half of the 2019/20 season.

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Inter Confirm Signing of Ashley Young From Manchester United on Short-Term Deal

​Inter have confirmed the signing of Ashley Young from Manchester United on a six-month contract.

The 34-year-old had entered the last six months of his deal at Old Trafford and had already snubbed the offer of a new contract to try and force through an immediate exit to the Serie A side.


​Inter took to their ​official website to announce that the deal is done, with Young penning a deal which also includes the option to extend by a further year at the end of the current campaign.

Manager Antonio Conte was eager to add some more depth to his wing-back positions, with Young emerging as a viable option for I Nerazzurri, despite the initial belief that a move would occur at the end of the season.

Young agreed terms with the Italian side, which prompted ​United to submit their own contract proposal to the 34-year-old, but he quickly rejected the offer in the hope of making an immediate move to Inter.

He has now been given his wish, with Young bringing an end to his nine-year association with the Red Devils in order to join Conte.

In total, Young managed 261 appearances for United following his switch from Aston Villa back in 2011, racking up 19 goals and 43 assists in all competitions. He enjoyed plenty of success with the club, lifting the ​Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League once each.

Earlier in the day, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that the club were unable to meet Young’s demands, and they accepted that they had the squad depth to cope without him for the remainder of the campaign.

“He is 35 in the summer and, if he gets a two-year contract somewhere, I think it’s up to him to take that. We weren’t ready to offer that,” he confirmed (via the club’s ​official website).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Ashley Young

“He’s been a good servant for the club. He’s been captain and he’s won trophies, leagues, cups, but we’ve got players coming through. So it was time now, then. When Ashley’s head and mindset was on ‘yeah, I want to try this’, why not do it now?

“Ashley’s mindset was that he wanted to try a new adventure and he he’s approaching 35 now. He’s done a fantastic job and he’s served this club fantastically. I think it was an opportunity for him that we had to say yes to. We got a transfer fee for someone who’s been so loyal to the club.

“Good luck. That’s what Manchester United do, you have players for a long time and then they move on and someone else steps in.”


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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Leonardo Spinazzola’s Inter Switch Breaks Down as Nerazzurri Turn to Victor Moses

​Inter’s talks with Roma over swapping Matteo Politano for Leonardo Spinazzola have broken down during the final stages of negotiations.

Antonio Conte’s side had identified Spinazzola as a potential answer to their left-back struggles, while they also want to offload Politano to create space in their squad to sign Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud.

Leonardo Spinazzola

It seemed as though this deal was in everybody’s best interests, but ​Gianluca Di Marzio has now confirmed that it looks unlikely to go through after negotiations hit a stand-still.

It is thought that the two sides were planning a straight swap for the two players, but ​Inter later decided to push for a loan move with an obligation to sign Spinazzola outright after he made 15 appearances – something which Roma were not happy with.

Roma tried to find a way to make it work, but it appears as though there was no saving these talks and the transfer is now described as ‘completely blocked’.

Matteo Politano

However, Di Marzio does note that things haven’t been officially called off just yet, so there may still be hope for this deal.

Conte has already ​struck a deal to bring in Manchester United left-back Ashley Young, but it seems he still wants another option, with ​Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso often linked with a switch to San Siro.

However, it could be another Chelsea player who ends up making the move as Di Marzio ​adds that Conte has turned his attention to Victor Moses.

Chelsea FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg

Moses was a core part of Conte’s Chelsea side who lifted the ​Premier League title in the 2016/17 season, reinventing himself as a right wing-back to make their 3-4-3 formation so dangerous.

We couldn’t tell you why Conte would turn to a right-back after missing out on a left-back, but we’re sure there’s some logic to it. Maybe.

Chelsea would be open to letting Moses, who is currently on loan with Fenerbahçe, leave permanently for €10m, while they would also agree to let him join temporarily until the end of the season.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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José Mourinho Denies Bid But Agent Meets With Inter CEO – Christian Eriksen Daily

It’s question on every Tottenham and Inter fans’ lips at the minute: what is actually happening with Christian Eriksen?​

Unfortunately, no-one seems to know.

We thought we finally had some clarity. Earlier on Friday, it was ​reported that a €13m offer had been submitted to secure his services in January (although even that came with some confusion, with ​Tottenham thought to be holding out for €17m.) 

That came shortly after a tweet from Fabrizio Romano that seemed to confirm things were coming along nicely, as the player’s agent Martin Shotts met Beppe Marotta in Milan – presumably to hash out the remaining details and personal terms before an agreement could be reached. 


If it is all done and dusted, however, then José Mourinho’s poker face is holding up very well indeed. 

The Spurs boss was in no mood to dance around the issue as he spoke to press ahead of his side’s trip to Watford on Saturday, as he outright denied that the club had received an offer at all – going as far as to say the player will feature in the short trip on Saturday.

“You have to ask the agent and Inter Milan because they know more than me,” he said, as quoted by the Evening Standard. “If they are confident, they are confident because they are ready to make us an offer, which didn’t happen yet.

“So when I see people speaking, especially people with responsibilities speaking about it, I am a little bit surprised. That’s all I can say.”

Mourinho has previously spoken of his desire to hold onto Eriksen and has r​efused point-blank to criticise him despite the speculation, so it’s understandable that he is keeping things under wraps in order to avoid any further fanfare.

However, this whole ‘no bid’ thing? Seems to contradict what is being said literally everywhere else.

Another conflicting report, this time from Sportmediaset, now says that Inter have submitted another bid, presumably after their first had been rejected. This new offer is said to be worth an initial €15m plus performance-based bonuses, and could be concluded ‘in the coming hours.’

Jose Mourinho,Joao Sacramento

The broadcaster quote Mourinho in their piece, so are clearly aware what is being said in England. They’re just not convinced it’s true, and are prepared to put their own information up against what is coming from the horse’s mouth. 

Jose Mourinho,Christian Eriksen

So, in summary: Mourinho says it isn’t happening, everyone else says it is, but no-one can seem to agree on the fee – if there is one at all. Simple as. 


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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Lautaro Martínez Is One of the Best Young Strikers in the World & Could Eclipse Argentina’s Greats

It’s upsetting as a football fan to think that some of the best players to ever play the game are in the twilight of their careers.

Three of the greatest Argentinian strikers ever in Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero and Gonzalo Higuaín are all entering their early 30s. However, fear not – Lautaro Martínez has entered the scene and is the future of Argentinian football.

The 22-year-old is not only going to be pivotal to Argentina but to global football, having established himself as one of the best young strikers in the world today. The Inter striker has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season – but he is much more than just a goalscorer.

Lautaro Martinez,Romelu Lukaku

His partnership with Romelu Lukaku has seen Inter become a force once again and they sit just two points behind Juventus in ​Serie A.

They’ve scored a combined 24 league goals this season and constantly strike fear into Serie A defences. For a true indication of how good their partnership is, just go and watch Martínez’s goals against Slavia Prague in the Champions League – it is sublime.

Not only has Martínez shown his ability domestically but also at a European level while playing in the Champions League. He scored five goals in six games for Antonio Conte’s team, including strikes in four consecutive games – something that only four other Argentinians have managed.

Just by watching Martínez play it is easy to make comparisons between him and some of the best to ever lead the line for Argentina. Not only does he have the guile, ability and finishing prowess of his elders but there is an added tenacity to his game that makes him so difficult to outmuscle. His goal at Camp Nou highlights this fully as he simply shrugged off Clement Lenglet and finished beautifully – a goal Messi himself would’ve been proud of.

The statistical comparisons to be made between the former Racing Club striker and the other three are eerily similar, too. Martínez is only halfway through his second season in European football and has bagged 24 goals in 59 games since joining Inter.

At the same stage in their careers, Messi had scored 25 in 61 games, Agüero had 20 in 67 for Atlético and ​Higuaín managed only 11 in 57 for Real Madrid. Not only is Martínez keeping up with these greats but he is eclipsing them. It’s the same when you compare their international records.

Lautaro Martínez

What makes Martínez even more impressive is that he is doing it in a side that was in need of a rebuild. Inter hadn’t challenged for the Serie A title since 2011 before this year and were being left behind by a rampant Juventus. But, alongside Lukaku, he has galvanised this Inter side into something their fans had wanted for years.

If he stays at Inter, then he could become one of their best ever players while also being well on his way of cementing a role in Argentina’s history of world class footballers. It’s a role he is already familiar with, having scored nine goals in 17 games for the national side – including a hat trick in September against Mexico.

Under the tutelage of the charismatic Antonio Conte, he has every possible chance of becoming the player he promises to be. He has that deadly, instinctive appetite for goals, making him one of the best young strikers in the world.

TOPSHOT-FBL-COPA AMERICA-2019-VEN-ARG

It is not surprising that both Barcelona and Manchester City have been linked with Martínez as they look to him as a possible successor to their own magical Argentinians.

With Messi, Agüero and Higuaín all getting closer to hanging up their boots there is a concern that Argentina might be left behind in the world of international football. However, with Martínez ready to carry that burden, the future of Argentina is in very, very safe hands. 

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