Man Utd on alert with Barcelona raid for £99m striker ‘in jeopardy’

Date published: Sunday 7th June 2020 6:33

Lautaro Martinez TEAMtalk

Man Utd are said to be ‘monitoring the situation’ after Barcelona’s attempts to secure the £99m acquisition of Inter Milan marksman Lautaro Martinez have ‘stalled.’

The Argentine, 22, has developed into a fearsome attacking threat during his two-year stint in Italy.

Operating at better than a goal every other game this campaign, Martinez’s lethal partnership with ex-Red Devil Romelu Lukaku fired Inter into contention for the Serie A title prior to football’s hiatus.

His goalscoring exploits attracted the interest of Barcelona, with none other than global superstar Lionel Messi going on the charm offensive in order to lure him to Catalonia.

The Argentine has a £99m release clause in his current contract, and securing his services seemed all but a formality in recent weeks.

However, British newspaper The Daily Mail (who cite Spanish publication Marca) note that the Spanish heavyweights are struggling to muster the financial muscle to pull off the deal.

Antonio Conte’s side reportedly want the entirety of the £99m fee paid ‘up front’, something that has caused a ‘stumbling block’ for The Blaugrana.

A further inhibitor stems from the fact Martinez wishes to see his wages increased, with the optics of an expensive new signing a factor to consider for a club that have asked their players to take a 70 percent wage cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

Should Barca deem the demand unworkable, both Man Utd and Real Madrid are described as ‘monitoring the situation.’

 

In other Red Devils news, Utd have been sounded a warning that the potentially mouthwatering partnership between Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes may not necessarily have the desired effects in the race for Champions League qualification.

Utd were arguably the form club in the top flight prior to football’s hiatus, going unbeaten in their last 11 matches across all competitions.

That run of form propelled them up to fifth place, just three points behind Frank Lampard’s youthful Chelsea side.

A possible Fernandes-Pogba axis in the middle of the park has set Utd fans’ pulses racing, but Charlie Nicholas is instead tipping a surprise package to pip Man Utd to fourth spot.

Read the full story here.

 

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