Serie A giants Inter Milan are confident of retaining star striker Lautaro Martinez this summer, despite consistent transfer links to Barcelona.
Inter CEO Guiseppe Marotta responded to the rumours by stating he remains certain the club will resist Barcelona’s interest, despite the Argentina international having a €111m release clause in July.
“Lautaro is a young player with many qualities. However, Inter is not a club that tends to sell its best players,” he told an interview with Sky Italia, reported via Marca.
“The player is flattered by the interest of big clubs, and it is only natural based on his performances.
“But on our part, there’s a strong desire to keep him. He has not expressed a desire to leave, and I am optimistic he will stay.”
Quique Setien is unlikely to be deterred by Marotta’s comments, with Martinez so heavily linked with a move to Catalonia ahead of the 2020-21 season.
The main stumbling block is still Inter’s determination to secure a cash only deal, despite Barcelona’s rumoured offers of a player exchange.
La Blaugrana have been linked with a player-plus-cash bid involving Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.
But, none of those options have appealed to Antonio Conte’s side, due to the importance of Martinez.
The only potential option looks to be Arthur Melo, with Conte a big fan of the Brazilian international.
Barcelona could be open to a deal involving the former Gremio star, but the player himself wants to stay in Spain.