Barcelona are prepared to continue their pursuit of Inter star Lautaro Martinez – despite the Catalan giants needing to recoup €70m in outgoing sales before 30 June.
La Blaugrana began the season with the intention of earning €124m by selling off some of their bloated squad, and they have made a sizeable €54m dent in their final target thus far. However, there are growing concerns within the club over the likelihood that they’ll reach this current objective, after failing to offload several big earners.
The Spanish champions were banking on the sale of out-of-favour star Philippe Coutinho to raise a significant portion of the money, but the chances of Bayern paying the optional €120m fee at the end of the season are now incredibly slim.
Coutinho has failed to impress during his time in Germany, and his lack of influence over the team has led to major doubts over his future in the Bundesliga. And according to Marca, Barça are subsequently contemplating selling one of their key players this summer, in a desperate attempt to balance the books before June 30.
The Catalan side is hopeful of gaining some income from the potential sales of Jean-Clair Todibo and Moussa Wague, who are currently on loan at Schalke and Nice respectively. Both clubs maintain an option to buy at the end of the campaign, but given the financial implications that have arisen due to the coronavirus outbreak, Barcelona are concerned that the duo will be returning to Camp Nou very soon.
But all of this uncertainty has not dampened Barça’s interest in Inter superstar Martinez. The Argentine striker has been on the club’s radar as a replacement for Luis Suarez for a number of transfer windows, but La Blaugrana seem intent on waiting no longer to land their man.
And the Catalan giants will be buoyed by the noises coming out of the 22-year-old’s camp, as Mundo Deportivo reports that Inter’s attempts to tie their star down to a long-term contract have been rebuffed.
I Nerazzurri would be willing to offer the bullish forward a much-improved deal, in the hope that he would settle down at San Siro and reject the advances of Barça. And they will be desperate to come to an agreement before the beginning of July, when a €111m release clause becomes active for a two-week period.
But Martinez has shown no interest in entering talks with the Italian side, as he begins to plan his San Siro exit for Catalonia. All Barça need to do is find €111m, on top of the €70m that they must recoup beforehand.
There is plenty left to run in this saga just yet.