Inter forward Lautaro Martinez looks likely to move on this summer as the Serie A champions seek to cash in and lower their costs to become more financially sustainable.
The Argentine star has been crucial to Inter’s recent rise back to the pinnacle of Italian football, scoring 40 goals in all competitions over the last two seasons and forging a prolific partnership with central striker Romelu Lukaku.
Martinez had previously looked likely to commit his future to Inter and earlier this year expressed his interest in staying at San Siro. But circumstances have changed and a transfer now appears to be the best solution for all parties.
At least his performances mean there is unlikely to be a shortage of suitors.
Here’s a roundup of seven clubs he could plausibly join…
Liverpool have no choice but to start thinking about life after Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, all of whom are now 29. That started last summer with the recruitment of Diogo Jota, but the Reds needs need much more and Martinez fits the bill at just 23.
The issue for Liverpool would be finding the money to fund a bid. The 2019/20 Premier League champions have already spent £36m this summer by triggering Ibrahima Konate’s release clause, giving them no option of spreading the cost over several annual instalments.
An offer for Martinez could be staggered, as with Jota, but it would undoubtedly take a lot of persuading to get Inter to agree to a deal from which they might not get fully paid until 2026.
PSG face losing Kylian Mbappe, whether it be this year or next. The French superstar is not expected to sign a new contract at Parc des Princes and his preference has long been understood to be Real Madrid, who want to open talks imminently.
If PSG refuse to sell, they risk losing Mbappe to Real as a free agent at the end of the season anyway, so it will be in their best interest to cash in instead.
If that is how the Mbappe saga pans out, PSG will need a replacement and will have money to spend. It makes a lot of sense for them to go after Martinez in that scenario.
Rather like PSG, Tottenham could find themselves in the market for a replacement forward this summer if they lose talisman and top scorer Harry Kane.
Kane wants to leave Spurs in pursuit of major trophies and has been a major target for Manchester City, although manager Pep Guardiola has publicly denied they can could afford to sign him.
Spurs won’t sell Kane for anything less than an enormous bid, which would mean having a lot of money to spend on a replacement. Martinez would have to be on the radar if Kane goes, but only if Kane goes.
Manchester City are in need of a forward this summer and it would be foolish of the club to put all of their eggs in Kane’s basket. Martinez has been of interest to the reigning Premier League champions for several months and they have monitored his situation.
The Inter star wouldn’t be first choice for City, but Kane is a much more complicated pursuit because of the vast expense of the potential operation. Martinez would still be a valuable addition as an alternative.
City have lost Sergio Aguero since the end of last season and failure to land a new striker before the transfer deadline would leave their squad weaker.
Chelsea are another Premier League club keen to sign a new striker this summer, with Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland their primary target for far.
90min was first to report Chelsea’s preparedness to offer up to £150m for Haaland this summer – ideally closer to £135m – in order to beat the competition to his signature ahead of a release clause being activated next year.
But they too have been sure not to allow themselves to get too wrapped up in pursuit of their number one target in case it doesn’t prove viable. With Lukaku unavailable, Martinez has been a back-up target of interest for several months already.
Arsenal have already committed around £75m to the signings of Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Ben White this summer, while they have unsuccessfully offered £25m for Aaron Ramsdale and are interested in £70m-rated James Maddison.
It all forms part of a crucial squad rebuild and Martinez has emerged as the latest target.
Partially funded by sales, the Gunners are prepared to spend up to £250m on players who fit their criteria: under 25, with the potential to improve and increase in value. Martinez is exactly that.
Martinez has been close to moving to La Liga in the past when Barcelona wanted to sign him last summer but didn’t have the funds available to make a formal offer to Inter.
The situation hasn’t changed for Barça, who need to slash costs just to re-sign Lionel Messi and register their free agent signings, but Spain might not be off the table for Martinez.
Atletico Madrid are reigning champions and have already seen a potential swap deal for Antoine Griezmann fall through in recent weeks. If Joao Felix were to leave, as rumoured, there would be even more call to bring in a new forward.