Manchester City have reportedly joined La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in the race to sign Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan.
According to a report from the Mirror, Manchester City have become the latest club to be credited with an interest in signing Inter Milan’s Argentine centre-forward Lautaro Martinez, who is already on the radars of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Having come through the ranks at Racing Club in his homeland, Martinez moved to Inter Milan in the summer of 2018. The 23-year-old had a fairly decent debut campaign in Europe, but it was the 2019/20 season that well and truly put him on the map.
Martinez enjoyed a prolific last season, as he formed a deadly partnership with Romelu Lukaku and almost fired the Nerazzurri to the Serie A title. The 23-year-old plundered 21 goals and set up 7 more in 49 games in all competitions, making the likes of Barcelona to sit up and take notice.
The Catalans had been linked with a move for the Argentine all through the summer as they sought a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez, who departed the club to join Atletico Madrid. However, considering their difficult financial situation, a move never materialised.
Having failed to adequately replace Suarez and with Antoine Griezmann failing to make the desired impact at the club, Barcelona continue to remain interested in securing the services of Martinez. However, their pursuit of the 23-year-old will be far from straightforward as Real Madrid and now, Manchester City have entered the race as well.
The lack of quality in the centre-forward department beyond Karim Benzema has been a major issue for Real Madrid over the past couple of seasons. Luka Jovic was signed for a big transfer fee last year, but the Serbian has proven to be a major dud. With Benzema set to turn 33 next month, Los Blancos need to have a succession plan in place, making Martinez a viable target.
Manchester City find themselves in a similar boat to that of Real Madrid as they lack a quality backup to Sergio Aguero. The Cityzens’ all-time leading goalscorer is in the final few months of his contract with the club and could potentially be on his way to Barcelona in the near future.
With Gabriel Jesus not always consistent enough, interest in someone like Martinez, as a long-term replacement for Aguero at the Etihad makes sense for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Martinez, who has 6 goals in 13 games this season, is contracted with Inter Milan till the summer of 2023. However, the Serie A side are in talks over a new deal for the striker, as they look to increase his current £98 million release clause.
Negotiations, though, haven’t gone smoothly, with the 23-year-old rejecting Inter’s new deal worth £86,000-a-week. Instead, Martinez is demanding a pay packet worth around £150,000-a-week, to pen a new five-year contract.
With all of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City in need of a new marquee striker in the near future, there is a solid chance of a three-way bidding war kicking off for the services of Martinez in the near future. Interestingly, the trio is also monitoring Benfica’s Darwin Nunez.