What Quique Setien said on Lautaro Martinez amid Barcelona transfer speculation

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Barcelona coach Quique Setien has discussed Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, a player heavily linked with a move to the Nou Camp for several months now.

As noted by the Evening Standard last month, speculation has been rife on the Argentine international’s future while it’s added in that report that he has a €111m release clause in his current deal with the Italian giants.

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The 22-year-old has enjoyed an impressive season so far this year, scoring 16 goals and providing four assists in 31 outings as not only has he emerged as one of Antonio Conte’s most important players, but he has rapidly become one of the most talented individuals in Europe.

In turn, it’s no real surprise that rumours have suggested interest is building elsewhere, specifically at Barcelona. With Luis Suarez set to turn 34 next year too, a long-term replacement is surely needed for the Uruguayan stalwart sooner rather than later.

Coupled with the ongoing injury troubles of Ousmane Dembele, it has left Setien short of options in attack since he was appointed, with Martin Braithwaite being signed outside of the transfer window in an emergency move to add more depth.

The Barcelona boss has spoken directly about Martinez on Friday though, labelling him a ‘great player’ while suggesting that playing alongside compatriot Lionel Messi could be a ‘huge incentive’ for most individuals.

“An important player, a great player, and Barcelona is always interested in great players,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, as re-reported in more detail by Calciomercato. “All good players can attract the interest of Barcelona, this is clear. As well as the fact that for many players the fact of being able to playing with Messi is a huge incentive.”

Time will tell if the two clubs can firstly come to an agreement over a deal though, as with the coronavirus pandemic in mind and its likely financial impact on clubs and their spending this summer, it remains to be seen if Barcelona can convince Inter to approve of an exit with a sufficient offer.

For the reasons outlined above though and with Setien seemingly doing little to rule out the chances of the reigning La Liga champions making a move for Martinez, it remains to be seen if they launch a bid in the coming months to try and bolster their attacking options with a long-term solution.

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