Barcelona

Lautaro: Barcelona to ignore 7 July signing deadline

The July date has been confirmed by Inter Milan's Beppe Marotta as the day the striker's release clause will expire, but the summer saga is set to continue.

Beppe Marotta, Inter Milan’s sporting CEO, revealed on Tuesday that the €111 million release clause for Lautaro Martínez expires on 7 July. He also acknowledged that FC Barcelona have shown the most interest in signing the Argentine, but that he does not believe they will pay that amount.

Lautaro currently out of Barcelona reach

in separate interviews with Gazetta dello Sport and Sky Italia, Marotta made these statements and in Barcelona they appear to agree, although for different reasons. At the time of writing, the payment of the €111 million has been ruled out absolutely because the club cannot finance this operation. Therefore, that deadline of 7 July does not impose any deadline for Barcelona.

Barça are very aware that the negotiation for Lautaro Martínez, certainly a key target, is going to be hard and long and it already points to it being one of the now-anticipated ‘soap operas’ of the summer. They can only reach that transfer amount if it was to include players from their squad in a swap deal, something that doesn’t immediately appeal to Inter and would require convincing players to move too.

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So the idea at the Catalan club is to bring down the asking price, and they see a drawn out negotiation as a necessary part of that. First, because of the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, their expectation is that football transfer values will drop from their current position, and offer up this deal for well under nine figures. That would then be palatable at the Camp Nou. Secondly, Barcelona see an advantage having already been gained by their agreement in principle with the player, with the 22-year old keen to wear the blaugrana colours next season.

Therefore, the 7 July deadline will see the 111-million-euro release clause will expire (assuming no other party gets involved) but it is far from the end of the story.