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Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid overtake Gunners in race for Lautaro Martinez

Lautaro Martinez
(Image credit: PA)

Atletico Madrid have jumped to the front of the queue to sign Arsenal target Lautaro Martinez, according to reports.

The Gunners have been tracking the Inter striker for some time, and have recently become hopeful that a deal could be done.

Inter are experiencing financial difficulties and have made keeping hold of Romelu Lukaku their priority.

As such, players like Martinez are seen as expendable by the club's hierarchy, a position which Arsenal were made aware of during talks over the future of Hector Bellerin, who is an Inter target.

The Nerazzurri have reportedly requested a cash-only deal after Arsenal informed them that they would be willing to offer Alexandre Lacazette in part-exchange.

But in an unwanted twist for Mikel Arteta and co., the north London side are no longer in pole position to sign Martinez.

According to Tuttosport, Atletico Madrid are currently leading the race for the Argentina international's signature.

Martinez has returned to Milan after a post-Copa America holiday, and is due back in training on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old will be aware of the uncertainty over his future and could request talks with Inter's owners.

Atletico have already made an offer of £30m, the report states, but that falls well below Inter's valuation of £77m.

It is unclear whether or not the Spanish champions would be willing to go that high, but they remain the favourites to sign Martinez should he depart.

Inter's asking price makes a deal extremely difficult for Arsenal, who may try once more to include Lacazette and another fringe member of the squad as part of the package.

Martinez would be a superb signing for the Gunners, but no one expected him to be obtainable at the start of the summer.

It would therefore not be too big a blow were the Argentine to join Atletico instead.

Arteta may now turn his attention elsewhere as he seeks to bolster his attack.

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