Barcelona have postponed negotiations with Inter over a deal for forward Lautaro Martínez and are now focused on raising as much money as possible to pursue a deal later in the summer.
President Josep Maria Bartomeu recently insisted the club are in a period of ‘internal reflection’ while they figure out their priorities for the summer, so talks over a blockbuster move for Martínez have been put on the back-burner.
As noted by Marca, that doesn’t mean a move for Martínez is dead. In fact, Barcelona are so confident that they will be able to get the deal over the line that they are avoiding frustrating Inter by trying to do it so soon.
Inter are still competing in Serie A and will then turn their attention to the Europa League, which finishes a week after the Champions League, and they want Martínez to be completely focused on that. There have already been murmurs of discontent with his reaction to Barça’s interest, so the La Liga side are taking a step back as they don’t want to see his price tag raised.
Mundo Deportivo note that the only real issue with this deal is the finances. A deal of €70m plus Junior Firpo has been tentatively agreed, but Barcelona don’t have that €70m right now.
To raise those funds, a whole host of players are thought to have been put on the chopping block. Jean-Clair Todibo, Rafinha Alcántara, Moussa Wagué, Ivan Rakitić, Arturo Vidal, Neto, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembélé could all be sold, which would definitely raise that €70m.
If they can’t bring in all that money, Barça could still turn to Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. MD note that the striker has not given up on a move to Camp Nou and suggest he could delay all contract talks until he sees a move to Spain is no longer possible (i.e. if Barcelona sign Martínez).
Neither Barcelona nor Inter are particularly worried about this Martínez deal. Barça have already agreed personal terms and are well aware of the Argentine’s desire to make the move, while Inter have seen Martínez reject a new contract and also know he wants to go.
The €70m-plus-Firpo deal appears to suit both parties, so Barcelona now have until the end of August to find that money. Time to get to work.