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Barcelona won't activate Lautaro Martinez's €111m release clause but still hopeful of striking deal

10:58 BST 07/07/2020
Lautaro Martinez Barcelona
The window for a deal to be done at the Argentine’s current asking price is about to close, but those at Camp Nou are prepared to be patient

Barcelona have no intention of activating the €111 million (£100m/$125m) release clause in Lautaro Martinez’s contract at Inter, but the Liga giants are still keen to thrash out a deal for the Argentine.

Those at San Siro have made any suitors of their South American forward aware that one window of opportunity will swing shut at the close of play on Tuesday.

For them, that is when the current release terms in Lautaro’s contract will expire.

Barcelona consider that clause to be valid for another week, through to July 15, but have no plans to take it up regardless.

The Liga giants are reluctant to enter into discussions at that asking price and are prepared to wait before opening any negotiations with Inter.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told RAC1 when quizzed on the reported interest that Barca hold in Lautaro: “I am not talking about transfers. We have not marked the signings in the calendar for when they should be completed.”

Meanwhile, Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta has told DAZN that the Serie A outfit “does not want to sell its champions, unless there is a desire on the part of the player to leave”.

Lautaro has given little away when it comes to his future plans.

Barca believe an agreement can be reached but, with the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic taken into account, they see the 22-year-old’s asking price being considerably lower than its current mark.

They have been busy piecing together plans behind the scenes for any summer business, with Goal reporting back in April that a lucrative contract is being readied for Lautaro.

The Catalans hope that those terms will aid their cause, with the club unable to splash out €111m on one player in the next window even if they wanted to.

Barca’s plan is to bring Lautaro’s price tag down, with the player understood to be open to transfer talks.

In his mind, he either remains at San Siro or heads to Camp Nou, and no alternative options will be considered.

Inter, though, maintain that the player has expressed no desire to them for an imminent switch to be pushed through and, with that in mind, negotiations from this point are expected to be tricky.

The Nerazzurri have made it clear that they will not bow to the demands of a European rival and will hold out for the best possible terms if a sale has to be sanctioned.

Barca hope that including a number of their players in a part-exchange package will help to sweeten the deal and relax Inter’s stance.

They want to bring in a proven performer who has 17 goals to his name from 37 appearances this season, with Lautaro seen as the perfect long-term successor to Luis Suarez in Catalunya.

One opportunity to make that happen is about to expire, but there may be many more to put a deal in place.