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SPORTS | 13-07-2020 12:01

Talks with Inter over Lautaro Martínez have 'stopped,' says Barça exec

22-year-old ex-Racing forward, who has scored 17 goals in all competitions for Inter this season, has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou. But Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu says talks over a potential move had been halted.

Barcelona Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Monday discussions with Inter Milan over the possible signing of Argentina striker Lautaro Martínez had stopped.

The 22-year-old ex-Racing forward, who has scored 17 goals in all competitions for Inter this season, has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou.

"We spoke with Inter a few weeks ago but now the discussions have stopped. Now we are not speaking," Bartomeu told Catalan television. "We have to finish La Liga and the Champions League and then see what the priorities are."

He also said Barça were not anticipating making a summer move for former forward Neymar, who Paris Saint-Germain made the world's most expensive player in 2017.

"I don't think PSG will put any player on the market and Neymar is a PSG player," he said.

There have been fresh doubts about the future of Lionel Messi in recent weeks, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner reportedly frustrated with the club's failure to build a world-class squad.

Spanish media reported earlier this month Messi had broken off negotiations on extending his contract, which expires next year.

"With Messi we talk, we have talked and we will talk," insisted Bartomeu."He is the best player in football history and has years in football ahead. I have no doubt that he will stay with Barça. His future is here in football and after football."

Bartomeu also confirmed under-pressure coach Quique Setién would stay in his post at least until the end of the season.

"We went to Setién's house to talk about the future, about the planning for the next season."

Barcelona sit second in the La Liga table with two matches remaining, one point behind arch rivals and leaders Real Madrid, who play their game in hand against Granada later on Monday.

– AFP

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