Javier Zanetti speaks on Lautaro Martinez’s future amid Barcelona transfer link

Lautaro Martinez

Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti is hopeful that Lautaro Martinez will remain with the Nerazzurri for ‘a long time’ amidst interest from Barcelona in signing him.

The Argentina international has been regularly linked with a move to the Camp Nou over the past year with the Blaugrana said to be eyeing a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

The Spanish champions have yet to make a formal approach for the 22-year-old but it has recently been claimed that they have already agreed personal terms with the forward.

In a recent interview with Sky Italia (h/t Standard Sport), Zanetti said that he is pleased over the club’s decision to sign the striker in 2018 after monitoring his performances over a period of time.

“I’m pleased to speak about Lautaro because when we signed him in 2018 [from Racing Club], we had been following him for some time. He was the most promising player in Argentine football,” he said.

He added that the Argentine appears ‘happy’ at the San Siro outfit and he hopes that the centre-forward will remain committed to the club for the long-term.

“Now he is a fixture at our club, in our national team. He is 22 years old. Seeing him training, he looks happy to me. I hope he stays a long time. He’s our patrimony,” he further told.

Martinez made the move to the Nerazzurri from Racing Club during the summer of 2018 and he had an average debut campaign, where he contributed just nine goals and one assist from 35 games across all competitions.

He has definitely improved on those figures with 16 goals and four assists from 31 appearances this term and has proved the perfect foil for Romelu Lukaku, with whom he has started upfront for most of the Serie A season.

Martinez currently has a £102m buy-out clause on his existing contract. It will be interesting to see whether the Nerazzurri can convince the striker to stay put next term while turning down the advances from the Blaugrana.

Stats from TransferMarkt.com