In an interview with Sky Italia, Inter Milan sporting director Piero Ausilio has insisted that Lautaro Martinez is not for sale and Barcelona will need to trigger the release clause on his contract to secure his services.
The Argentina international has been identified as the prime target for the Spanish champions this summer as they seek to find a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez upfront.
It has recently been suggested that the Catalan giants could propose a part-exchange deal as they are unlikely to afford the player’s £99.5m release clause during the summer.
However, that option has been ruled out by Ausilio, who has stated that the Nerazzurri have no plans of selling one of their key players in Martinez in the next transfer window.
He added that the club are planning for the future with the Argentine in their squad and the Blaugrana won’t be able to sign the 22-year-old unless they activate the buy-out clause available.
“Lautaro Martinez is not for sale. Barcelona contacted us, we have a good relationship but we told them we’ll not sell Lautaro. If they want him, Barça must pay the full release-clause.” He told.
“We want Lautaro in our future team. He will not be sold, the release clause is the only way – Barça know this as the other clubs who contacted us. And Lautaro’s release clause is so complicated.”
The comments should come as a blow for Quique Setien’s side, who appear to have singled out the Argentine as the priority target to bolster their attack ahead of next season.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has definitely hampered every club financially with the lack of incoming funds and the Blaugrana have not been spared despite being one of the richest clubs in the world.
With the Nerazzurri’s current stance, the Blaugrana’s prospects of signing Martinez may now depend on recouping funds from player sales in order to exercise the clause on the striker’s deal.
The futures of Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal could be considered as they enter the final year of their respective contracts while Ousmane Dembele’s regular injury concerns may pave the way for his departure.
In fact, it is reported that Dembele could be available for around £45m this summer as the club are prepared to cut their losses on the Frenchman, who has suffered multiple hamstring injuries over the past three years.
Philippe Coutinho is another player, who has been tipped to leave the club once he returns from the loan stint at Bayern Munich. The Brazil international is currently attracting plenty of interest from the Premier League.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com