BARCELONA want Lautaro Martinez and the feeling is very much mutual – but agreeing a deal with Inter Milan will be tough.
The gifted 22-year-old has had a stunning season with Antonio Conte's side, stepping out of the departed Mauro Icardi's shadow and earning his status as one of Europe's top strikers.
A technically excellent dribbler possessing a lethal finish, it is unsurprising that Martinez has drawn interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
But it is a move to the Camp Nou that he craves – with the opportunity to link-up with Argentine compatriot Lionel Messi at club level too good to miss.
Inter's desire to receive the 5ft 9in goal-getter's £97.6million release clause in full – coupled with Barcelona's desperation to re-sign Neymar in the summer – and not to mention the repercussions of Covid-19, make the deal difficult financially.
But according to Calciomercato, Barcelona could include any one of six players in part-exchange to try and drive the fee down.
We examine the Barca stars that could be sent packing for the San Siro this summer.
1) Antoine Griezmann
Barcelona were keen on the Frenchman for years before finally sealing his arrival from Atletico Madrid last summer in a bumper £104million deal.
The 29-year-old hasn't quite hit the heights at the Camp Nou, however, with his 14 goals and four assists failing to shake the feeling that club chiefs would in hindsight rather have not bought him – putting the money towards a deal for Neymar instead.
Griezmann would likely be an attractive option for Inter, who could field him in a star-studded strikeforce with Lukaku in Conte's 3-5-2 formation.
2) Arturo Vidal
The midfielder is no stranger to Serie A, having won seven trophies in four years with Juventus – managed for the first three of them by none other than Antonio Conte.
The 32-year-old then spent three successful years at Bayern Munich, before swapping Bavaria for Catalonia in 2018.
While undoubtedly a good player, bustling Vidal doesn't quite fit the traditional ideals of a Barcelona midfielder – with a Conte reunion at Inter possibly a better fit for all parties.
The recipient of Andres Iniesta's legendary No8 shirt at Barcelona, Arthur is undoubtedly a talented player.
A supremely technically gifted player, with an eye for a pass and the metronomic ability to run a game, 23-year-old Arthur is more in the mould of a long-term Barcelona midfielder than Vidal.
But such is Barca's desperation to land Martinez, they could sacrifice the former Gremio talent in order to secure their man – particularly given that they also possess Frenkie de Jong.
4) Nelson Semedo
Sharing right-back duties with Sergi Roberto for the best part of three years now, Semedo is another that could find himself shed if Inter are interested.
The former Benfica defender, 26, has made 111 appearances for the LaLiga giants, but could easily be regarded as replaceable.
Could take the place of Conte-favourite Victor Moses at right-wing back in the former Chelsea manager's 3-5-2 system.
5) Junior Firpo
Brought in just last summer from Real Betis, Junior Firpo's time at Barcelona has not been an unqualified success.
Despite being a talented operator, the 23-year-old has been forced to very much operate as second fiddle to stalwart Jordi Alba.
Only valued at around £17million by Barca chiefs, the Spanish under-21 international could be included in any dealings with Inter.
6) Carles Alena
A midfielder very much in the classic La Masia mould, Alena has hovered around the Barcelona first-team since the 2016-17 season – without ever really staking a claim for a regular place.
Now 22, Alena had finally gone out on loan in January – getting regular game time for Betis prior to the coronavirus pandemic KOing world football.
Although, unlikely to chip away at much of Inter's asking price, Alena could be a nice little bargaining chip for Barcelona.
The 5ft 11in left-footer has managed 39 appearances for their first-team to date.
Source: Read Full Article