Lautaro Martinez is not fully opposed to a move to the Premier League, according to reports – but Tottenham Hotspur could try to make sure he ends up with them rather than rivals Arsenal.
Martinez emerged as a somewhat ambitious target for Arsenal recently. It was not too long ago that he was rated in the nine-figure bracket and linked with the likes of Barcelona. Now, Serie A champions Inter Milan are desperate to raise funds and may have to sell Martinez.
Inter have already said goodbye to flying wing-back Achraf Hakimi, who joined Paris Saint-Germain. He will not be the last casualty of their overhaul as they look to balance the books. Indeed, Inter will be listening to offers for Martinez.
They had been in talks over a new contract for him – he is still on the same terms he originally signed when moving from South America, and his profile has risen vastly since then – before their financial issues forced them to backtrack.
His renewed availability led to Arsenal igniting their pursuit of the Argentine forward. Long-term admirers, they previously deemed him out of reach until Inter’s desperation for a sale became clear.
But their hopes of signing him soon took a hit when it emerged that Martinez would only leave Inter for one of the three big Spanish clubs: Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico.
However, The Athletic insist that the situation is different. In fact, Martinez would be open to a move to the Premier League and would include Arsenal on his list of possible destinations.
Inter and Arsenal are already in talks over the potential transfer of Hector Bellerin to the Serie A side to replace Hakimi. During those discussions, Martinez’s name may also have come up.
The Gunners are in the market for a new striker because they are likely to sell Alexandre Lacazette this summer. The Frenchman is in the final year of his contract and they would rather sell him than reward him fresh terms he may not justify.
Lacazette was their top scorer last season, but Arsenal only need to look at how Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s form dipped after his bumper new contract last summer to realise repeating that strategy may be risky.
Therefore, they are “aggressively” trying to find a new club for Lacazette. Arsenal have even tried to offer him to Inter, but such a deal would be no good for the Italians; they need pure cash.
Once Lacazette is out of the way, they will have a space to fill up front. It’s a decision they will need to get right if they are to return to the European places by the end of the season.
Martinez scored 17 goals from 38 league games in Inter’s title win last season. It was his best ever tally for a league campaign, so he would be an interesting option.
He followed it up by contributing to Argentina’s victory in the Copa America and may earn a new move as a result. Arsenal are not out of the race yet.
Tottenham tipped to hijack Lautaro Martinez transfer
But the north London club are not the only suitors for the soon-to-be 24-year-old. It is also claimed that rivals Tottenham could make a move for him.
New managing director Fabio Paratici knows all about Martinez from his time working in Serie A. Therefore, he could use his knowledge of that market to launch their own bid.
Such a move would be dependent on the future of Harry Kane. While new coach Nuno Espirito Santo may use a system with two strikers, Tottenham could probably not afford to keep Kane and add Martinez.
But with rumours still swirling about the England captain’s future, Martinez could end up being his replacement.
Kane is considering his options as he reaches his prime years, still yet to win a major trophy. He knows he may have to leave Tottenham to do so, but the club will not make it easy for him to leave if his destination would be a Premier League rival like Manchester City.
If he does end up leaving, the funds available to Tottenham for signings of their own should significantly increase. In that event, they could easily afford Martinez if they too were able to convince him to join.
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