Barcelona have had their eye on the Inter Milan striker for months and hold a firm advantage over Real Madrid in a potential clash to sign him.
Lautaro Martinez has become one of the most sought-after strikers in the world. The 22-year-old has scored 16 goals and four assists in 28 matches this season and was a stand-out performer in Inter’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.
That is why over the past few months the Catalan giants have been weighing up a move for the Argentine striker, whose release clause will be set at 111 million euros come July.
Barcelona see the Lautaro as a suitable long-term replacement for Luis Suárez as the Uruguayan approaches the twilight years of his career.
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But now it seems that an obstacle has emerged for Barcelona, with bitter rivals Real Madrid now considering a move for the young forward, according to reports in Argentina.
However the problem for Madrid would be finding a spot for him in Zinedine Zidane’s team, since he is a non-EU national and they can only register three such players in their squad. At the moment, Vinicius, Rodrygo and Militao do not have a European passport.
This issue subsequently provides Barcelona an advantage when it comes to a potential battle to land Lautaro, as El Blaugrana currently only have two players occupying their available non-EU slots – Arthur Melo and Arturo Vidal.
And in the case of Vidal, the Chilean could be on his way out this summer, with Inter Milan themselves having enquired about him over the past few months – something which could play nicely into Barcelona’s hands in negotiations for Lautaro.
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Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime faced Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in a second-round match later Thursday.
Barça, therefore, would have no issues finding a place for the 22-year-old centre forward, who would come to Camp Nou firmly aware that he would be the chosen heir to Suarez’s mantle.