June 12, 2021

Barcelona plotting Inter Milan swap deal to pip Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid

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Barcelona want to sign Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez this summer and are reportedly willing to offer some of their most high-profile players in order to land him. Martinez has been attracting the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs this summer after a decent campaign with Inter.

The 23-year-old contributed 19 goals and seven assists in 48 appearances for the Italian club last season.

His efforts helped Inter win their first Serie A title in 11 years, but the Scudetto has been followed by lots of uncertainty in Milan.

Inter are experiencing financial difficulties, with Chinese owners Suning needing to raise around £64million (€80m) this summer to balance the books.

Suining have been seeking outside investment since November and the uncertainty behind the scenes was the chief factor behind Antonio Conte’s departure as manager.

Conte met with club chiefs after he secured the title to seek assurances over the situation and parted ways when he did not receive it.

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Europe’s biggest clubs have smelt an opportunity at Inter and Martinez, Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi have all been subject to transfer interest.

Lukaku scored 30 goals in 44 appearances last season and could join Manchester City or Chelsea, who are both seeking a world-class striker.

Right-back Hakimi is of interest to Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain and looks likely to leave Inter just a year after joining from Real Madrid.

It now appears that Martinez could be following them out of the exit, with Barcelona clear favourites for his signature.

SPORT reports that Barca want to land a ‘world star’ this summer for their rebuild under Ronald Koeman and Martinez represents a more affordable option to Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland.

The Catalan club have already begun speaking to Martinez’s representatives and hope to beat off competition from rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, who have both asked about his availability.

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Martinez is reportedly ‘is crazy to come’ to Barca but could cost around £64m (€80m) to sign.

After signing Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia from Manchester City – and with Memphis Depay hopefully on the way from Lyon – Barca need to sell in order to afford Martinez.

The report says Barca have ‘come to the conclusion’ that an ‘important footballer’ must be sold and ‘all eyes are focused on [Ousmane] Dembele and [Antoine] Griezmann’.

Dembele is about to enter the final 12 months of his deal with Barca and the club are reportedly holding out for £43m to £51m (€50-60m) for his signature.

The 24-year-old winger has struggled with injuries since his eye-popping £135.5m move from Dortmund in 2017.

Griezmann scored 20 goals in 50 appearances in the 2020/21 season but appears to be considered expendable this summer.

The Spanish newspaper says his future will depend on his performance at the European Championships with France.

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