Lautaro Martinez Move To Barcelona Depends On Coutinho Sale
- Barcelona have agreed to personal terms on a contract with Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez
- Move is contingent on Barca selling Philippe Coutinho this summer
- Coutinho is said to prefer a move back to the Premier League
Barcelona are facing a complicated summer. Because of millions of dollars in lost revenue, the Spanish giants won’t be able to spend as much in the transfer market as they had originally planned. However, that doesn’t mean the Blaugrana will sit on the sidelines for the entire transfer period, either.
In fact, Barcelona seem to have snagged one of the biggest fish in the pond. According to ESPN, Barca have agreed to personal terms with Inter Milan forward Lautaro Martinez. The plan is to have Martinez join the club to begin next season, but there’s a catch. Martinez will likely only be permitted to join Barcelona if the club are able to sell Philippe Coutinho this summer.
Inter still also have to formally agree to sell Martinez before the move will be made official. While Martinez has agreed to a contract with Barcelona, the two teams have yet to come to terms on an official transfer fee. The teams have been engaged in negotiations for quite some time, but the lengthy stoppage in play earlier this year has thrown a wrench into things.
Barca’s Slashed Budget
Barcelona have had to eliminate around €200 million from their expected budget, which means the club are having to take a more cautious approach when it comes to summer spending. There is also a clause in Martinez’ contract that would allow him to leave for €111 million, but Barcelona have never planned on paying nearly that much for the 22-year-old.
Barcelona have been hopeful about the potential for sending some players to Inter in an attempt to help drive down the asking price, but the Italian side would reportedly prefer cash in exchange for Martinez. That means that Barcelona will almost surely have to find a taker for Coutinho if they are to have enough money to afford a Martinez move.
Lautaro Martinez and Barcelona have a verbal agreement in place. (ESPN) pic.twitter.com/9Mn6iwlfFI
— Calcio Direct (@CalcioDirect) July 10, 2020
Barcelona are surely aware that they will have to accept a loss on Coutinho. The Catalan side spent a record €160 million to pry the Brazilian away from Liverpool back in 2018, but Coutinho has never come close to living up to expectations. Following a terrible run of form in Spain, Coutinho was loaned out to Barcelona to at the beginning of the 2019-20 campaign.
Coutinho Prefers England?
Still, with Coutinho having played fairly well in Germany, Barcelona are optimistic about the potential for finding a buyer. Coutinho is also still only 28, and a few Premier League clubs have reportedly shown at least minor interest in making a play for the midfielder.
Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, has said that Coutinho would prefer a move back to England in order to try and rejuvenate his stalled career. While no club has made an official bid as of yet, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Coutinho back in the Premier League to begin 2020-21. Newcastle and Chelsea are among the clubs that have reportedly expressed interest in the past.
Coutinho likely won’t be the only Barcelona player looking for a new home later in the summer. Ousmane Dembele is a potential target, but his lengthy injury could complicate his market. Nelson Semedo and Ivan Rakitic are a couple of other squad rotation players that could be on the way out.
Pjanic Headed to Spain
Barcelona have already struck a deal for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic for €60 million ahead of next season. The move was facilitated by the transfer of Arthur, who went to Juve for €82 million in the same transaction. Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu told the press earlier this week that any future signings will likely depend on whether the side are able to sell other key players first in order to balance the books.
Martinez has contributed 12 goals with a pair of assists in Serie A play so far this season. The Argentina international will likely challenge Luis Suarez for minutes up front to begin next season if the move is finalized at some point this summer.
Barcelona have led La Liga for the majority of the campaign, but they have since been surpassed in the table by Real Madrid. As of this writing, Barca are a point beneath Real in the table, though Madrid will face Alaves in La Liga action on Friday afternoon. With a win, Real Madrid would move back to four points clear atop the table with three more matches to play.