Lautaro Martinez is considering pledging his future to Inter Milan due to Lionel Messi’s situation at Barcelona, according to reports.
Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months. Even before their Champions League embarrassment prompted major changes at the club, Barca were looking at Martinez as a long-term successor to Messi.
Manchester City and Manchester United had ambitions of bringing Martinez to the Premier League. However, the chance to team up with compatriot Messi at Barcelona appealed to him more.
However, the potential move is now in doubt due to the turmoil surrounding Messi’s future at Barcelona.
Messi shocked the world by handing in a transfer request at Barcelona, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner believing he can leave for free – even if the club insist otherwise. He has not turned up to their pre-season Covid-19 tests.
Manchester City are considering a move for Messi, who could reunite with ex-Barca coach Pep Guardiola. In fact, the pair have already been in contact, according to recent reports.
If Messi does leave for City – or anywhere else – then Martinez would be less convinced by a move to Barcelona.
Martinez could sign new Inter contract
According to Corriere Dello Sport, Martinez is no longer as keen on the potential switch due to the Messi scenario. Even though Suarez is likely to leave – meaning Martinez could be their first-choice striker if he moved – the Inter Milan star would prefer to stay where he is if Messi left.
In fact, Inter themselves are in the running for Messi. Hence, it is possible he could team up with Martinez without the latter having to move.
Corriere Dello Sport add that Martinez could even sign a new contract at San Siro. There are three years left on his present deal, which included a €111m release clause until this summer.
A potential new agreement could remove any chance of a release clause, strengthening Inter’s hand if they have to sell him later down the line.
Martinez scored 21 goals in 49 appearances for Inter last season. Those goals helped them to the Europa League final and a second-placed finish in Serie A.