Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio has revealed Barcelona will have to pay Lautaro Martinez’s full
€111m (£97m) release clause if they want to secure the Argentine’s services ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
Lautaro has enjoyed a stellar season under Antonio Conte at San Siro, scoring 16 times in all competitions and forming one of the most potent strike partnerships on the planet alongside target man Romelu Lukaku.
Nevertheless, his breakthrough campaign – following a difficult debut season with Luciano Spalletti at the helm – led to Barcelona taking notice. The Catalans are in search of Luis Suarez’s long-term successor at Camp Nou and view El Toro as that guy.
But despite La Blaugrana previously being hopeful of securing Lautaro in a player-plus-cash deal, Nerazzurri sporting director Ausilio has confirmed the Spanish giants will have to play the Argentine’s full release clause.
“As for as Martinez is concerned, there is only one way he will leave Inter and that is by paying his clause,” Ausilio told Sky Italia, “A clause that everyone knows – there is no point in hiding – is demanding, because it has both deadlines and commitments that must be kept very precise.
“It is a clause that expires in the early part of July so it won’t last for a long time. And it is the only possibility that exists to take Lautaro away from Inter today,” he added.
Ausilio’s demands come after 90min exclusively revealed earlier this month that Barcelona are still confident of securing a deal for their priority target, despite their financial woes.
It’s understood the Catalans are willing to offload a number of high-profile stars in order to broker a deal.
Ousmane Dembélé, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann could still recuperate hefty fees, despite the impact of COVID-19 in regards to player values, and are believed to be available for transfer. Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitić, Arturo Vidal and Martin Braithwaite, meanwhile, are also said to be on the chopping block.
And with Ausilio all but ruling out any potential swap deal, Barcelona will be looking at a staggered payment plan which would see them pay a small amount up front and a large part of the €111m clause in 12 months’ time.