Manchester City are prepared to pay £97.5million to beat Chelsea and Barcelona to the signing of Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez, according to reports. Martinez is in high demand, amid reports Barcelona want to make him their new centre-forward.
City are reportedly ready to beat Barca and Chelsea to the signing of Martinez.
The Citizens are on the hunt for a new long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero, and have apparently identified the Argentine as their ideal target.
The Argentine striker has scored 12 goals in 22 Serie A games for Inter Milan this season, and was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in January.
The La Liga leaders are expected to make another move to sign him this summer, and are said to be willing to trigger his release clause of £97.5m.
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However, they will face competition, with City and Chelsea both keen.
According to The Sun, City will gladly pay the release clause due to Pep Guardiola’s admiration for the 22-year-old.
That could be a severe blow to Chelsea’s chances of signing the striker, due to their interest in Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho.
The Blues have already forked out £37m to sign Hakim Ziyech from Ajax, and are unlikely to want to spend the full £97.5m on signing Martinez this summer.
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Former Chelsea striker Hernan Crespo indicated that he believed the striker would be best off signing for City, as he would be the perfect replacement for Aguero.
The City ace is out of contract next summer, and it has been speculated that he could leave this summer if the club’s Champions League ban isn’t overturned.
“Lautaro could well be the new Aguero,” Crespo said.
“He’s not as sharp in his dribbling but he is more of a team player than Kun, who too often gets distracted and looks disinterested.
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“Lautaro is always participating in the move, so he can play as a lone centre-forward or with another striker, even in a trident. I really like his mentality.”
Meanwhile, Inter legend Javier Zanetti has insisted he believes Martinez will stay at the club.
“At Inter I see him happy, he identifies with the club,” Zanetti said. “We believed in him. I see his future at Inter.
“But right now we’re not talking about the transfer market, the most important thing is health. Then we’ll have time to think about it.”
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