Manchester United have been linked once more with an ambitious move for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, a player who has primarily been the subject of interest from Barcelona.
Prior to the suspension of the 2019/20 season as a result of the coronavirus crisis, Martinez had been enjoying a fine campaign with Inter and had also struck up an excellent partnership at San Siro with ex-United striker Romelu Lukaku.
Martinez has been talked about for a number of months as the player who might breathe fresh life into Barcelona’s squad, especially with Luis Suarez now 33 years old. Yet the latest speculation on his future has also included United, whose name has often been used as a tool in transfer politics.
A story originating from Barcelona-based publication SPORT, shared in English by Sport Witness, has claimed that United had recently indicated a willingness to trigger Martinez’s €111m (£97m) buyout clause, while also making an offer of personal terms to the player’s camp.
It is claimed that this all happened a few weeks ago and that United’s offer ‘surpassed’ the deal on offer from Barcelona. That supposed offer is alleged to have been declined on the basis that Martinez’s agents don’t believe he would adapt well to the Premier League.
SPORT adds that the 22-year-old has no interest in joining United or other clubs said to be interested – Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain – in favour of moving to Spain and Barcelona. It is, of course, in SPORT’s particular interest to push that angle.
While it is definitely plausible that United could be interested in a player like Martinez given his age and the importance of a new forward in the ongoing squad rebuild, price and other priorities – especially in these uncertain times globally – make a formal approach unlikely.
Prior to coronavirus impacting football as it has done, United were primarily targeting moves for English trio Jadon Sancho, Jack Grealish and Jude Bellingham in the summer transfer market.
In light of the crisis, 90min recently revealed that United are not currently minded to break the £100m barrier to sign Sancho, despite having previously been willing to pay up to £120m. There is, however, still an intent to sign the Borussia Dortmund winger.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward recently warned that no clubs, not even those with the wealth and resources of his own, will be fully immune from coronavirus impact.
“It feels somewhat inappropriate to see speculation about transfers for hundreds of millions in current circumstances,” Woodward said in April.
“There’s a big disconnect between those stories and the economic realities facing football clubs in general. Clearly, it’s true we are fortunate to be in a strong financial position compared to many clubs, but we are not immune from the financial impact of what this virus is doing.”
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