While Chelsea and Manchester City have been credited with serious interest, Barcelona have been at the forefront of the Lautaro Martinez saga since the very beginning as they look for an heir to Luis Suárez. Despite Chelsea’s reported charm offensive, Lautaro is interested only in joining his compatriot, Lionel Messi.
As per a report from The Telegraph, Lautaro’s current teammates believe that to be the case as well, and would expect the 22-year-old to rebuff all interest from England. (Ed.note: it’s unclear where this information is coming from exactly, as it’s stated as a simple matter of fact. Didn’t realize the Telegraph were such good pals with the Inter squad.)
That’s not to say the the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered just yet. Barcelona are in a state of turmoil with six board members resigning from their positions over the club’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their finances have taken a hit as well, just like every other teams. The Blaugrana are thus trying to offer some players in exchange for Lautaro, but Inter have rejected such deals and are holding out for a cash-only approach that equals Lautaro’s €111m release clause.
While Barcelona’s struggles could provide an opportunity for us to gazump, it seems that Lautaro’s mind is already set on a move to Camp Nou and Chelsea would be wise to focus our search elsewhere (and/or sign Giroud to a new contract).