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Barcelona ‘will NOT pay Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez’s £98m release clause’

Barcelona are reportedly reluctant to meet Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez’s £98million release clause – but may instead include a number of players in exchange.

The Nou Camp giants have been rocked off-field in recent weeks, with players having agreed to a 70 per cent wage cut during the coronavirus crisis, and the club are now unwilling to match Martinez’s sky-high valuation. 

But according to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona could offer several of their own stars in the hope of enticing Inter into parting ways with their prized asset this summer.

Barcelona are reluctant to meet Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez's £98million release clause

Barcelona are reluctant to meet Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez's £98million release clause

 Barcelona are reluctant to meet Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez’s £98million release clause

The highly-rated 22-year-old remains set on joining Barcelona at the end of the season, according to reports, but the deal has been complicated further with the club having to reevaluate their transfer plans.

Barcelona view Martinez as a replacement for the veteran Luis Suarez, and international team-mate Lionel Messi is said to have endorsed the potential signing – but the LaLiga champions’ viewpoint on the touted £98m fee has now changed.

Despite the potential hold up, Barcelona are aware of Martinez’s desire to join them, although the Argentine ace is yet to publicly admit to his intentions.  

Barcelona reportedly view 22-year-old Martinez as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez

Barcelona reportedly view 22-year-old Martinez as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez

Barcelona reportedly view 22-year-old Martinez as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez

And negotiations are likely to be far from simple. Inter are reluctant to sell Martinez and are thought to view the striker as integral to their attempts to win Serie A for the first time since 2012.

The Champions League disappointment faced by Antonio Conte’s men this term has also unsurprisingly further convinced Inter to battle to keep hold of Martinez.

But Inter could be convinced to negotiate should Barcelona offer players capable of bolstering the Serie A giants for their next campaign.

Arturo Vidal is admired by boss Conte, and the experienced midfielder is reportedly desperate for increased game time after falling out of favour in Catalonia.

The Catalan giants may offer a number of players in exchange, including veteran Arturo Vidal

The Catalan giants may offer a number of players in exchange, including veteran Arturo Vidal

The Catalan giants may offer a number of players in exchange, including veteran Arturo Vidal

Arthur Melo is also coveted by Inter, although Barcelona will be reluctant to consider shipping out the 23-year-old, and Carles Alena and Marc Cucurella may be offered.

Gazzetta dello Sport previously stated that Inter would only relent on their asking price if Martinez submits an official transfer request.

But amid the speculation, Inter’s vice-president Javier Zanetti believes the striker is ‘happy’ at the club and is confident they can keep hold of the Argentine.

‘At Inter I see him happy, he identifies with the club,’ Zanetti told ESPN.

‘We believed in him. I see his future at Inter.’

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