Signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter this summer ‘will be easier’ for Barcelona compared to re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, report El Mundo Deportivo.
The reason for the difference is an economic one – Barcelona could more than treble Lautaro’s current €2m per annum salary at Inter, while Neymar’s wage in Paris is said to be around €36m.
Argentine international Lautaro has netted 16 goals 30 appearances for Antonio Conte’s side this campaign and has particularly impressed in European competition, scoring five in six outings in the Champions League.
It is said that the Blaugrana lead the way in the race for the 22-year-old, whom they had identified as the long-term successor to the ageing Luis Suarez.
Martinez’s current deal runs to June 2023 and was signed in July 2018, when Inter paid Racing Club a reported €22.7m for his services and he has swiftly established himself as a star in Italy.
A report in Diario Sport last month that Neymar ‘is being held against his will’ by Paris Saint Germain’s Qatari ownership, who are insistent on not selling the star attacker, in spite of the player’s wishes of returning to the Camp Nou.
Neymar is said to be in love with the idea of returning to the Catalan giants this summer and is said to be prepared for another tense summer of a standoff between the clubs with a transfer saga likely.
It is also a key factor that the former Santos star has a close personal friendship with his former Blaugrana teammates Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, with whom he is keen to play alongside once more.
The former Santos forward left the Camp Nou for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 for a world record €222m fee, but reports continue to suggest he may be open to a departure from the Parisians.
Neymar has continually been linked with a return to Spain since his departure with the Catalan giants and Real Madrid said to be keen on a future transfer.
Neymar has been derailed in the French capital by injuries – he has been involved in just 52 of a possible 103 Ligue 1 matches since his switch in the summer of 2017, in which he has netted 47 goals.