Barcelona and Messi initiate charm offensive towards €111m Man Utd target

Date published: Friday 15th May 2020 9:13

Lionel Messi has piled the praise on Inter Milan striker and Manchester United target Lautaro Martinez.

Messi knows the striker well as they are international team-mates with Argentina and the mercurial Messi has had some good things to say about the number nine.

The front page of Friday’s edition of El Mundo Deportivo leads on the Catalan media outlet’s interview with Messi with the headline: “Lautaro is very complete”.

It’s safe to say if Barcelona’s charm offensive is well under way in Catalonia with Barca aiming to get the player on side in order to lower his asking price.

“If I’m honest with you, I’m not sure if there were or are negotiations right now for him, I have no idea,” Messi is cited as saying by El Mundo Deportivo.

“I have said this before but Lautaro is an impressive striker, especially because I think he is very complete. He is strong, he dribbles very well, he can score goals and he knows how to protect the ball. We will see what’s going to happen with him.”

Football Espana report that Thursday’s front page of El Mundo claimed the striker would only want to join Barcelona if he leaves Inter with no interest in Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain.

There was no mention of United, however last week United’s lure of a huge contract offer was not expected to be enough to sign the 22-year-old.

Catalan publication Sport (via Sport Witness), reported Martinez had become a target for Manchester United, who may be looking for a big-name striker despite the relative successes of Marcus Rashford and Odion Ighalo this season.

The offer though did not appear to be exactly what Martinez wanted with Sport saying he was not convinced by the Old Trafford project and turned down a move.

Martinez has netted 16 goals 31 appearances for Inter this campaign, and has particularly impressed in Europe, scoring five in six outings in the Champions League.

The striker’s current deal runs to June 2023 and he has a €111m release clause.

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