Luis Suarez has called on Barcelona to finalise a long-touted deal to bring Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez to the Spanish giants.
The Argentine moved to Inter in 2018 and has developed this season to become one of Europe’s best strikers.
Eighteen goals and six assists in all competitions have reportedly peaked the interest of Barcelona, who have targeted him for months.
Indeed, speculation shot up earlier this month when Martinez’s €111million release clause expired.
Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed earlier this week that negotiations with Inter have ceased. However, Suarez still believes his side should press on and complete Martinez’s signing.
“It’s not easy to move to Italy from Argentina and show everything he has in a league as difficult as the Italian one.
“He’s young and we’ll try to help him if he comes to Barca, to adapt and make him feel comfortable.”
Despite Martinez making 27 Serie A appearances last term, he was the understudy to fellow Argentine Mauro Icardi.
However, Icardi’s loan move to Paris Saint-Germain allowed Martinez to step up under manager Antonio Conte.
Martinez’s contract at Inter runs until 2023, though the removal of his release clause raises doubts about whether clubs can afford a move.
Indeed, Barca are cash-strapped, mainly by having the largest wage bill in Europe. That means their focus has switched this summer to offloading several players.
BARCA WILLING TO OFFLOAD UMTITI?
One such player is defender Samuel Umtiti, who reports say is a top candidate for leaving Camp Nou.
The Frenchman has struggled with injuries in recent seasons – particularly knee problems.
And reports earlier this week said Barca are considering loaning the centre-back out to offload his wages. Manchester United and Arsenal have previously been linked with a move.