Manchester United have been handed renewed hope of signing Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez as Barcelona may decide to pull out of the race.
The 22-year-old has scored 16 goals and provided 4 assists in 31 games for the Nerazzurri this season and has scored 9 goals in 18 games for national side Argentina.
It has been widely reported that Barca were in pole position to sign Martinez, who is believed to want to play alongside compatriot Lionel Messi at the Neucamp.
However, according to a new report from Spain this morning, the Blaugrana do not have sufficient cash to buy both their top transfer targets – Martinez and Neymar – and will have to make a decision as to which is their priority.
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‘Barça do not have 300 million euros in the bank. That is what, today, it would cost to complete the operations of Neymar … and Lautaro Martínez’ the report claims.
‘It is possible that the market crash due to the coronavirus crisis will lower player prices this summer. But if that happens, the same will happen with clubs’ transfer budgets.’
AS then goes on to debate which of the two signings is more likely to be prioritised by Barca. Neymar’s goal contributions from the wing (18 goals and 10 assists in 22 games), his friendship with Messi and the fact that he represents a global brand weigh in his favour.
‘The Catalan club could consider the incorporation of a high-level striker (Aubameyang, Ben Yedder), but at a lower price than Lautaro’ the outlet concludes.
If Barcelona do say ‘hasta la vista, baby’ to Martinez, it would leave the Red Devils as one of the few clubs that could meet that £100 million July buyout clause. If, as has been reported, the club is set to sell Paul Pogba for a similar amount, then it could be achievable even if a fee is agreed for Jadon Sancho.
It could even be possible, as noted here some weeks ago, that a swap deal between Pogba and Martinez could be agreed. With Barcelona out of the picture, it could be a solution that suits everyone. Inter would be getting one over on their arch rivals Juventus by bagging the Frenchman, he would be getting his wish to return to Italy and United would be getting one of the world’s best strikers.
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