Inter Milan await £98m bid from Barcelona for Martinez as release clause threatens to be triggered
Inter Milan do not want to sell striker Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona but could be forced to if his £98m release clause is triggered, say the Serie A club.
Chief executive Giuseppe Marotta is hopeful the 22-year-old Argentine will stay in Italy beyond the summer and build on his record of 25 goals in 66 appearances.
But with his release clause expiring on July 7, there is a growing concern among those at Inter that anything could happen over the next month.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: "We want to strengthen the team structure of which Lautaro is an important element, young, very keen and from talent he is now becoming a true champion.
"This thanks to the work of [Antonio] Conte, of the club and himself. He has proven to have great football and professional skills. So much so as to recognise now that his path has not reached the peak yet and that he can still grow more with us.
"Inter does not want to sell, but to buy like big clubs do and we want to follow this line. There is a clause and it ends on July 7.
"We'll see what Barcelona want to do and then we will see what he wants. Today it is important that he is focused and ready to give his contribution for everyone's satisfaction."
Martinez has impressed alongside former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku since the start of the season.
However, Inter’s title tilt was dealt a major blow shortly before the suspension of the campaign when they suffered back-to-back Serie A defeats to Lazio and Juventus.
They now sit eight points behind Lazio and nine points behind league leaders Juventus with 12 games remaining.