The Italian club was eliminated from the Champions League following a 2-1 loss to Barcelona on Tuesday, and the Spanish club was reportedly so impressed by Lautaro Martínez’s performance that it is ready to activate the Inter forward’s 111 million euro (US$123 million) release clause.
Martínez ran the Barcelona defence ragged, set up Romelu Lukaku’s equaliser and also had two goals ruled out for offside. He also scored when the two clubs faced each other in October.
“We are Inter Milan, with an important history — like Barcelona — and we don’t have to necessarily sell anybody,” Inter CEO Guiseppe Marotta said. “We want to grow, so we want to concentrate on our youngsters like Lautaro Martínez or Lukaku, they are interesting and young and we want to grow with them.
“But as you know, the future of a player is in their head. If Lautaro wants to stay with us, we are happy with that, if he will be attracted by the ideas of other clubs we will evaluate the situation. At the moment he is very tied to Inter and we are proud.”
Martínez signed a contract until 2023 when he joined Inter from Racing Club last year and there is already talk of improving that deal to keep him at the club.
The Argentine forward scored nine goals for Inter last season but has exploded this campaign and has already found the back of the net 13 times in a formidable partnership with Lukaku under coach Antonio Conte.
“There is the right chemistry between them,” Marotta said. “Antonio Conte, a proven winner, knows how to get the best out of them.”
That partnership could prove crucial to keeping Martínez at the club.
“Inter is my home. I spend most of my
life here and that for me matters a lot,”
Martínez said. “Everyone has shown me
affection from the very first day and that
is fundamental for a player and a man.”