Barcelona have been put off the signing of Inter striker Lautaro Martínez due to his €100m asking price, with the club’s recruitment team now looking elsewhere for a new centre forward.
Aside from Kylian Mbappé, the Argentina international is deemed to be the ideal successor for Luis Suárez in Catalonia. Barcelona have built up a profile on Martínez with scouting reports dating back to his early days at Racing Club de Avellaneda.
But with Inter refusing to budge on their €100m valuation, ESPN report that Barcelona are now looking to send scouts elsewhere in Europe and South America to find a new striker that fits within their budget.
Neymar’s potential return to Barcelona is still on the table, so the club will be operating on a tight transfer budget in the search for Suárez’s successor.
Norwegian teenage sensation Erling Haaland has been mentioned by the club’s decision-makers following his breathtaking start to the season, but ESPN add that Barça instead want to sign someone who is a closer fit to Suárez’s profile.
While ESPN’s report discounts a move for Martínez, Diario Sport (via Sportsmole) boldly claims that Barcelona would be ready to pay the forward’s €100m asking price.
The Argentina international is currently in talks with Inter over a new long-term contract, and while negotiations have recently stalled, the Italian giants are not believed to be in a rush as his current deal runs until 2023.
Martínez’s agent, Beto Yaque, also recently suggested that it was only a matter of time before the 22-year-old put pen to paper on a new deal at San Siro.
“Lautaro is very happy at Inter and he will soon renew his contract with the club; he doesn’t think of anything else,” Yaque said.
“If there are several teams on his tracks, he is positive at a professional level, because it means he is working well. But, today, he is purely linked to the Nerazzurri and is happy where he is.”
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