Just as it looked as though Manchester United were getting a clearer run at Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez, three other clubs are reportedly in the hunt for his signature, according to The Sun.
The striker has been in great form for the Nerazzurri this season, netting 16 goals in 27 games in all competitions.
It has been widely reported over recent months that Barcelona and the Red Devils were competing for the Argentinian’s signature. Barça had been in pole position and were set to trigger his £102 million release clause in July.
However, as reported here yesterday, internal wrangles and a financial crisis look to have put paid to the Blaugrana’s transfer plans, leaving United in the hotseat.
But The Sun’s Phil Thomas, who does not even list United as contenders for Martinez’s signature, claims that Manchester City are prepared to meet the 22-year-old’s release clause, which he quotes as a lower figure of £97.5 million.
Thomas also claims that Real Madrid and Chelsea are in the mix, but are unwilling to match that buyout fee.
Meanwhile Corriere Dello Sport have quoted Inter Milan’s vice president Javier Zanetti as saying that his star striker is going nowhere.
‘He is only 22 years old and has a great future ahead and it is normal that the great teams like him’ Zanetti said.
‘But I am convinced that he will still be at Inter for many years to come, I see him happy with us.’
If City – or any club – do trigger the release clause, which is active only in the first two weeks of July, there is little Inter can do to prevent the player from leaving should he wish to move on. However, with the Sky Blues facing a 2-year UEFA ban, Barcelona in chaos and United not certain of being able to guarantee Champions League football next term, staying put might indeed be the ‘New Aguero’s’ preferred option.