Atlético Madrid need another forward this summer, and several media outlets suggest Lautaro Martínez is the man to fill the hole in Diego Simeone’s squad.
The Argentine has been linked in the past, with a deal almost done before he left South America in 2017. Inter Milan pipped Atlético to the post to sign the young striker from Racing, but Simeone remains a fan and the club is still interested in acquiring the player.
FC Barcelona have been the big club linked with the 23-year-old in recent transfer windows, but their situation makes a move for him all but impossible.
Arsenal might be ready to offer Lautaro a way out of Inter according to the Athletic, but Atlético lead the race for now. Realistically, Atlético can’t compete with Arsenal in terms of wages but Diario AS report that the 23-year-old is keen to play in LaLiga. To that end, Mundo Deportivo and TNT Sports in Argentina suggest Atlético are his preferred destination.
Inter are asking for €80 million and a Saúl Ñíguez transfer would certainly help to raise funds for such a move. Saúl’s agents will travel to England on Monday, according to reports, and a transfer out of Madrid looks inevitable.
The reason this is happening now is because Lautaro is looking less and less likely to sign a new contract, and Inter have now put a price on the player according to Sky Sports Italy. Inter are preparing for a selling scenario if the striker does not want to sign a new contract and have lined up Joaquín Correa as a replacement.
Lautaro’s deal, which expires in 2023, would give Atlético some leverage in negotiations but with a Premier League club involved, it likely wouldn’t drop much lower if Inter got desperate.
If Arsenal do manage to convince Lautaro to sign, it might open up another avenue for Atlético to acquire a striker in the transfer market.
Alexandre Lacazette was linked with Atlético for a long time before he eventually moved to London. Antoine Griezmann was reportedly the player trying to broker a deal on that occasion to bring his friend and compatriot to the club. Instead, Atleti were hit with a transfer ban and Lacazette went to Arsenal.
The French striker has gone on to score 65 goals in 170 games for the Gunners, but at 30 years old and with a potential world-class striker signing looming, he might become surplus to requirements.