Lautaro Martínez and Inter are simply made for each other. Yes, that may come across as a sweeping statement considering the 20-year-old is yet to make his competitive debut in a Nerazzurri shirt. However, the signs in pre-season have been excellent so far and there is a great deal of enthusiasm surrounding the quality he will bring to his new side. There is of course a degree of risk involved every time a club signs a player, but the vast majority of fans and journalists agree that “El Toro” has all the requisite attributes to be a success in Serie A.
The Argentine does, of course, arrive with a glowing reference from legendary Beneamata striker Diego Milito, who helped broker the deal which brought the youngster to Milan in his official capacity as Racing Club’s sporting director. Indeed, El Principe’s close bond with the likes of Javier Zanetti and Piero Ausilio played a crucial role in negotiations, which could just as easily have ended with the player joining La Liga giants Atlético Madrid instead.
Though performances in friendly matches are often to be taken with a pinch of salt, it is clear that Lautaro is settling into his new surroundings very nicely. Several key figures at Appiano Gentile, including coach Luciano Spalletti, have already commented on how impressed they have been with his work rate in training. Evidence suggests he has been able to assimilate tactical instructions from the Tuscan superbly well too, given how good an understanding he has struck with compatriot Mauro Icardi.
Importantly, Lautaro also provides his coach with several different tactical options ahead of the new campaign, which he was perhaps lacking over the course of his previous 12 months at the club. Thus far, he has been deployed as a number 10 within the framework of Spalletti’s preferred 4-2-3-1 system. It is still early days, but there have already been signs that he and Icardi can develop an excellent strike partnership which, on paper at least, has the potential to strike fear into any defence in Europe.
While the former Arsenal and Valencia target is more than capable of playing in a wide attacking role, those in the know believe that Spalletti’s long-term plan is to play the duo alongside each other in a 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 formation. It does of course remain to be seen how he will accommodate Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perišić in these plans, but it would be foolish not to explore the possibility of allowing two such potent strikers to feed off of one another.
Regardless of which position he is used in, Lautaro’s attitude so far has been exemplary and there is every reason to believe that he can follow in the footsteps of heroes such as Zanetti and Milito by writing new chapters of history at Inter. With Icardi, he has been given a rare opportunity to play alongside the man he considers his idol and that is also something he must look to grasp with both hands.
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