Lautaro Martinez is one of the hottest prospects currently on the market.
The young Inter Milan forward is wanted by the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United, if a new report coming from FcInterNews is anything to go by, and the Nerazzurri might be fighting a losing battle for their talisman.
The same report states that the 22-year-old Argentine will have a release clause of €111m (£93.8m) available in his contract from July 1st to July 15th but the Italians would very much love to either get rid of it or increase it significantly in the near future.
Mundo Deportivo have also stated Barcelona are on the prowl as well, and could very well be interested in acquiring his services.
Of course, both the Blaugrana and the Citizens’ interest could be warranted by the fact their star strikers, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero, are on the wrong side of their 30s and not getting any younger.
Adding some new blood might go a long way for both Ernesto Valverde and Pep Guardiola’s squads but Martinez’s arrival could have major implications on two other stars already present in their respective squads – Antoine Griezmann for the Catalans and Gabriel Jesus for the English side.
The Frenchman was a centre-forward throughout most of his Atletico Madrid stint, as per the games that are in Tranfermarkt’s database, and his arrival should’ve, at least on paper, meant that Suarez has finally gotten his heir.
But Valverde has preferred to put Griezmann on the left and keep the Uruguayan in the lineup as well, as is evident from his 17 games played out wide and just five in the central area as per Transfermarkt.
Quite clearly, the Basque coach sees the Frenchman in a different kind of role and Barca’s efforts to go into the market and find a young no.9, just like Martinez, could mean Griezmann ends up being a winger on a near-permanent basis.
At least that’s what the season so far would indicate.
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Not that he hasn’t performed – as seven goals and four assists in 2019/20 can attest – but it’s rather weird for Barcelona to splash the cash on him and then essentially play him out of position. Signing a new centre-forward in Martinez, though, suggests that’s a long-term view rather than a pragmatic one to get Barcelona’s best attackers into the side.
For Man City, this is more of a straightforward case – Martinez’s arrival would provide relief for Aguero but it also makes you wonder what will happen to Jesus.
The Brazilian is 22, just like Inter’s gem, and has a similar skill set that could definitely be used to take over the mantle in the near future.
With ten goals and five assists across 22 games in all competitions, we can see that Jesus can both attack and create, which is also solidified by his 2.2 key passes and 2.2 dribbles in the Champions League this season, where he has been extremely prolific.
Martinez is similar with 1.2 key passes and 1.2 dribbles in Europe but naturally lags a bit behind considering the overall quality of the teams.
Still, the only real reason Jesus has been given a steady run of games as of late is Aguero’s injury and if Man City are so determined to land Inter’s star to replace their ageing gunman, it does make you wonder what will happen to the young starlet they already have in the pipeline.
We’ve seen Guardiola tamper with all kinds of systems this season but he almost always plays with a single striker up front. Jesus is primarily a centre-forward – as evident from this season’s tally of games from Transfermarkt – so Martinez’s arrival might as well spell trouble for his Man City career, or at least make his own challenge of becoming Augero’s undoubted successor that little bit tougher.
We’ll have to wait and see, but wherever Martinez ends up next, he will almost certainly create casualties.
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