Inter’s pursuit of Achraf Hakimi may thwart Barcelona’s attempt to sign Lautaro Martinez this summer, with a potential swap deal involving Nelson Semedo now seemingly off the table.
A whole host of top European clubs were interested in signing Hakimi – whose impressive two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund is drawing to a close – this summer, and it appears the Nerazzurri are have won the race for a talent who’s set to thrive as a wing-back in Antonio Conte’s 3-5-2.
The player is said to have ‘agreed terms’ with Inter after they agreed a £36m fee with Real Madrid.
However, Catalonian-based news outlet Mundo Deportivo has reported this move is a major setback in Barcelona’s chase of Lautaro this summer.
Incapable of affording the Argentine’s €110m release clause, La Blaugrana started to explore various alternatives to bring the Inter striker to Camp Nou, including swap deals.
And one player who the Catalans were willing to offload to significantly reduce the €110m fee was Semedo, but Inter’s pursuit of Hakimi has all but ruled that move out.
Nevertheless, the Catalans still have a couple of cards to play. Junior Firpo is understood to be keen on a switch to San Siro after struggling to displace Jordi Alba following his arrival last summer, while Inter boss Conte is a huge admirer of Arturo Vidal, with the Chilean close to a move to the Nerazzurri in January.
Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta, however, is keen on bringing back Radja Nainggolan from his current Cagliari loan as opposed to signing Vidal.
Even if these two were included as part of a swap deal, it’s likely they wouldn’t take much off the initial fee.
Vidal, now 33 years old, doesn’t hold much too value despite continuing to impress, while Barca will struggle to acquire more than the €18m they spent on Firpo following his indifferent debut season in Catalonia.