Chelsea to the break bank in a battle with Barcelona for Lautaro Martinez - report

Lautaro Martinez

Barcelona are reportedly 'closer than ever' to signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter Milan, but could face competition from Chelsea.

Barcelona are believed to see Martinez as their long-term striker solution and are pushing hard for his signature.

Las Blaugranas have reportedly been tracking Martinez for some time and intensified their interest after Luis Suarez's injury.

It's said that Real Madrid enquired about Martinez in January but Barcelona are the player's preference if he moves to La Liga.

The 23-year-old has scored 25 goals in 66 appearances since his move from Argentina to Italy and is rumoured to be catching the eye of a number of clubs.

According to Sport, Premier League duo Chelsea and Manchester City are keeping tabs on the Inter Milan forward.

Chelsea are reportedly ready to match Martinez's full release clause worth £100m and in doing so would be able to enter direct negotiations with the player.

Barcelona have apparently so far tried to haggle with Inter with regards to the transfer fee and were even exploring a player-plus-cash deal.

Inter are understood to be interested in a number of Barcelona players who could be sacrificed to get the deal over the line.

Chelsea's willingness to spend big comes after two transfer windows of spending nothing - mainly down to a transfer ban.

However, despite the Blues' hoarded millions, it is believed that Martinez has his heart set on a move to the Camp Nou.

There is a belief that Martinez wishes to play alongside his compatriot and Balon D'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Barcelona are confident they can secure Martinez's services and will yet again then turn their attention to Neymar.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu is thought to be very keen to finish the summer with both Martinez and Neymar in the famous red and blue shirt.

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