Barcelona star Lionel Messi has described Lautaro Martinez as a ‘complete footballer amid the speculation that the Inter Milan striker could join the club during the summer.
The Argentine striker is presently in his second season with the Nerazzurri and he has caught the eye with 16 goals and four assists across all competitions.
Of late, it has been mentioned that the Blaugrana are confident of landing his signature this summer but Messi is unsure whether his club are in negotiations to sign his compatriot.
Still, the Blaugrana captain hailed the 22-year-old as a complete footballer and spoke about the striker’s all-round qualities on the playing field, he told Mundo Deportivo:
“I’m not sure if there’s a negotiation for him at this time, but as I’ve already said, Lautaro is an impressive striker and a complete footballer, he’s strong, dribbles well, scores goals, he knows how to protect the ball. We’ll have to see what happens with him and the other names being mentioned.”
The Catalan giants are lining up a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, who is currently in the final phase of his professional career, where he has tended to struggle with regular knee problems.
The £102m release clause on Martinez’s contract has been a stumbling block for the Blaugrana with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but it appears that they may have found an alternative solution.
They are likely to propose a possible exchange deal with Samuel Umtiti, Arturo Vidal and Ivan Rakitic among the players, who could potentially act as makeweights to reduce the price tag.
In case, they are unsuccessful, the club could seek to negotiate a staggered payment path whereby they pay a small fee during the 2020 summer transfer window with the remainder to be settled in 12 months’ time.
That may not suit the Nerazzurri, who will want to find a replacement for Martinez instantly with the funds received. It will be interesting to see how this transfer saga unfolds over the next few weeks.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com