Chelsea are lining up a huge offer to sign Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez in the summer transfer window, according to reports in Spain.
Martinez, 22, has taken Italian football by storm since his switch from Racing Club to Inter in the summer of 2018, scoring 25 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions and attracting interest from many of Europe’s elite clubs.
Real Madrid made contact with Martinez’s entourage in January but Barca responded with steps to block their bitter rivals’ progress and Martinez has now decided that, if he does move to Spain, it will be for the Nou Camp rather than the Bernabeu.
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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu held a series of meetings with club officials over the winter where it was decided they would be looking to make two statement signings ahead of the 2020/21 campaign: Martinez and PSG superstar Neymar.
However, Sport claims that Chelsea and Manchester City will provide stiff competition for Martinez with both English clubs prepared to break the bank for the Argentina international.
After rejecting an approach from Manchester United, Martinez’s entourage have listened to Chelsea and City, but the Premier League is not currently seen as a ‘priority’ for the young striker.
Martinez dreams of playing alongside Lionel Messi at both club and international level and favours a move to Barca as things stand. But the Catalan giants understand that this could change quickly and landing the forward ‘will not be easy’.
The attacker has a €111million (£100m) release clause in his contract at the San Siro (that can be triggered in the first half of July) which Barcelona deem to be excessive.
The report claims they will attempt to lower that price by offering Arturo Vidal in any potential deal. While Barca have prioritised a move for Martinez over Neymar, the La Liga leaders would ideally have both players signed by the end of the summer.