Lionel Messi has labelled Lautaro Martinez a ‘complete’ forward, and the Barcelona icon has spoken of his desire to link up with his fellow Argentine at the Camp Nou next season. Martinez’s agent has added further fuel to the fire by claiming that there is a ‘very big possibility’ of the 22-year old completing his move to Catalonia this summer.
Although the young striker has enjoyed a fruitful campaign in Serie A, big things are expected of the Bahia Blanca-born star. Can he live up to the hype?
Inter are desperate to keep hold of the forward who has plundered 19 goals in all competitions this season, yet his desire to link up with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could prove to be decisive. Although a number of top clubs including Manchester United are believed to be circling this summer, Barca are thought to be in pole position, and with the La Liga giants renowned for their possession-based style of football, this is highly likely to play to his strengths.
The Blaugrana have tended to interchange between 4-4-2 and 4-3-3 in recent years, and the former Racing Club striker should relish the chance to integrate himself as part of one of Europe’s most potent strike-forces. Martinez was used sporadically under former Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, who used to prefer Mauro Icardi in the lone striker role. When given the chance to impress, the forward often found himself isolated due to opponents sitting deep. With the wingers tracking back, the front-man was unable to make space for himself, and was often seen drifting in and out of play.
While lower-ranked teams may occasionally deploy similar tactics against Barcelona, it often tends to be a fruitless task with the 26-time Spanish champions usually finding a way to break the tightest of defensive lines.
Lautaro is able to create space for himself, and is extremely comfortable with the ball at his feet, something that is a prerequisite for any potential Barca recruit. Under Antonio Conte, he has been part of a front two alongside Romelu Lukaku in a 3-5-2 formation. This has suited him well due to defenders having to share their attention between Lautaro and his strike partner Lukaku. Arguably, the weakest aspect of his game is his aerial ability, but that is unlikely to be a major concern if he gets his move to the Catalan giants.
He is one of a number of Barcelona transfer targets this summer as Quique Setien aims to bolster his side in preparation for the 2020/21 campaign. Martinez is among the most high profile of the potential recruits due to his efficiency at Inter. Strikers are often considered to be more valuable by fans, due to their match-winning ability and the recognition they receive in the media, and the position has been immortalized by a plethora of mid-90s computer games and more recently, online slots. The latter includes Super Striker, a popular NetEnt release which is currently available at all of the best betting and casino sites including 22Bet and Royal Panda.
Known as ‘El Toro’, the front man has a terrific strike-rate and he is likely to get plenty of chances in the Spanish top flight. He’s been compared to Sergio Aguero by former striker Hernan Crespo, and has also enjoyed success on the international stage. He also appears to be improving season-upon-season, and his numbers have increased exponentially since the arrival of Conte.
Inter are understandably keen to keep hold of their emerging star striker, but the financial return from selling him and the likelihood they receive at least one Barcelona player as part of the deal may change all that leading to the young man’s exit. Martinez is surely looking to capitalize on a super season in Serie A, and the recent evidence suggests that he would be the perfect fit for Setien’s attack-minded side.