Inter CEO ‘Very Optimistic’ About Fending Off Barcelona’s Interest in Lautaro Martínez

Lautaro Martinez
Giuseppe Marotta is confident of keeping Lautaro Martinez | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Inter executive Giuseppe Marotta has revealed he is confident the club will be able to keep hold of forward Lautaro Martínez, who is wanted by Barcelona.

Martínez is one of Barcelona’s top targets and has been the subject of countless rumours over the last few months, including a suggestion that he has already informed manager Antonio Conte he wants to move to Camp Nou this summer.

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Barcelona have made Martinez their top priority this summer | Silvia Lore/Getty Images

However, speaking to Sky Sport Italia, Marotta said the exact opposite, insisting Martínez has never shown any interest in a move away from San Siro.

“Lautaro is young and has a lot of quality, so many teams want him,” Marotta said. “Inter don’t want to sell their players.

“The player is flattered and it’s logical that there’s a lot of attention on him, but we want to keep him. He has never expressed his desire to leave either. I’m very optimistic about the chances of him staying.”

Mundo Deportivo note that Barcelona remain undeterred in their pursuit of Martínez, and there is a cautious optimism that a deal will be agreed somewhere down the line as he does want to leave Inter and whether he has vocalised that wish to his club or not is irrelevant.

Reports from Italy, including Marotta’s latest words, have suggested that Barça’s interest has cooled, but MD state with confidence that the Catalan giants are calm about the situation and feel time is on their side.

Both sides have accepted that Martínez’s €111m release clause won’t be necessary in negotiations as the coronavirus crisis has lowered prices of players around Europe, and Barcelona are currently working on a swap deal to try and convince Inter to sell.

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Barcelona have offered €70m plus Junior Firpo to sign Martinez | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The latest offer is believed to be closer to €70m plus left-back Junior Firpo, but Inter are yet to indicate whether they intend to accept that or not.

Even if Inter decide against doing that exact deal, Barcelona believe they have time to figure something out. The transfer market is expected to be open until early October, and given there isn’t too much between the two sides, an agreement may just be one more compromise away.

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