Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has confirmed that the club have held talks with Inter Milan for Lautaro Martinez, but they are currently not in a position to negotiate the Argentine’s transfer.
The 22-year-old is widely known as a transfer target for the Catalan giants, but they have yet to make a formal approach to secure his signature from the Nerazzurri.
Earlier in May, Nerazzurri sporting director Piero Ausilio insisted that the club have no plans of parting ways with the striker and interested clubs including Barcelona must trigger the £99.5m release clause on the player’s contract.
The corresponding clause has since expired on July 7 and the Blaugrana’s prospects of landing the centre-forward are now dependent on whether the Nerazzurri are convinced to sell.
Speaking to TV3, Bartomeu revealed that the club are currently in an assessment phase. He added that the Blaugrana had previously made contact with the Nerazzurri over Martinez, but the negotiations are currently at a standstill.
“The coming market will be very different. The big clubs will be limited by economic problems, but Barca are always a market-mover. In Lautaro’s case the negotiation is halted right now,” He told.
“We spoke to Inter a few weeks ago. We are in an assessment phase. We have spoken with Inter about Lautaro, but not recently. We will wait to finish the season and re-assess everything.”
Martinez joined the Nerazzurri from Racing Club in the summer of 2018 and he was not overly impressive during his debut campaign where he registered only nine goals and one assist across all competitions.
However, he has eclipsed the feat this term with 18 goals and six assists for the San Siro outfit and should make more goalscoring contributions with the club having a minimum of another seven games.
Antonio Conte’s side have been far from impressive since the return after the COVID-19 break last month and they have registered just three wins from their seven matches.
One of those came against Torino at home on Monday night. Andrea Belotti put Torino ahead after 17 minutes on the clock and the Turin outfit managed to hold onto the advantage until the break.
However, the Nerazzurri came back strong after the half-time interval with Ashley Young, Diego Godin and Martinez finding the net in the space of 16 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez, who is currently on loan from Manchester United, was the pick of the players with two assists as the Nerazzurri returned to the second spot for the first time in 10 gameweeks.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com