It’s been interesting to see the evolution of transfer stories throughout the Coronavirus shut down, as the current reality is starting to bite.
It started with a presumption that nothing would change, before we started to hear about possible swap transfers where almost entire squads were being listed as available.
Now it sounds like selling clubs know they are in a position of strength, and that could be a big problem for Barcelona in their hunt to sign Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan:
#Inter sport director Ausilio to @SkySport exclusive interview: “Lautaro Martinez is not for sale. Barcelona contacted us, we have a good relationship but we told them we’ll not sell Lautaro. If they want him, Barça must pay the full release-clause”. ?? #transfers #Lautaro
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) May 27, 2020
While the release clause isn’t listed in that report, a story from Calciomercato last year revealed that it was believed to be €111m, so it’s hard to see Barcelona being able to afford that.
Even if they do manage to find a way to pay that much, it’s worth noting that he would be going into a very different tactical situation at Barcelona.
He only scored six times in 27 games last season, but he’s found a place under Antonio Conte this term in a front two with Romelu Lukaku, which has seen him improve to score 11 in 22 Serie A games.
At Barcelona he would play as the only central striker unless they drastically change their formation, so that would bring a whole host of challenges for him as he adapts.
You could argue that Barca might be better off pairing him with Antoine Griezmann with Messi playing in the number 10 role in behind, but that would be a total shift from their usual philosophy.
All of that is irrelevant unless they suddenly manage to find the money required to trigger that release clause, so it looks like he won’t be going anywhere this summer.