Players, especially forwards, under 23 are the fad now amongst the footballing elite. This trend is not lost on Barcelona, who have identified quite a few youngsters as heirs-apparent to Luis Suarez’s throne at the club, with Inter Milan ace Lautaro Martinez being top of that list.
Before this month, there was next to nothing about Lautaro Martinez being linked to Barcelona in the media, and it’s safe to say that comments made by his agent Beto Yaque after the 22-year old Argentine’s massive performance in September’s international break spurred these links and probably the board to check out the youngster.
Martinez’s agent spoke to Argentine sports television channel TyC sports about his wish to see his client play with Argentina teammate Lionel Messi at Barcelona.
“It’d be wonderful to see him play with Leo Messi at Barcelona,” he said. “It’s great to see him play like that, so relaxed and happy. He has remarkable control in his first touch and that makes it very difficult for defenders to catch him.”
Martinez, who has also been compared to fellow countryman, Manchester City’s Sergio Agüero, by legendary Argentine striker Hernan Crespo because of a similarity in how they play, is now heavily linked with Barcelona who have been reported to be preparing a bid for the striker’s services.
Seeing how Lautaro has been very effective for Inter Milan this season since Mauro Icardi left for PSG, scoring six goals in 11 games across all competitions, there is almost no reason why he wouldn’t turn heads in the Barcelona scouting department.
While Lautaro seems to be the media favourite, other links have surfaced in the past few weeks including Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, AC Milan’s Rafael Leao, PSV Eindhoven’s Donyell Malen, and Red Bull Salzburg’s Erling Braut Haaland. However, only Martinez is as Suarez-esque as they come among this pool of young strikers.
Currently, per Gazzetta dello Sport (via Calciomercato), Inter Milan would require €111m from any club who would want to take Martinez away from them. This price should not be beyond Barcelona, who have been known to splash the cash in the past.
Donyell Malen is the next most linked young striker to Barcelona. He is currently valued at €18m by Transfermarkt. As per the same source, he has scored 10 goals in 10 league games, providing three assists in the process. The former Arsenal man is on the radar of not only his former club but also Barcelona, and does not look like staying at PSV beyond January, if the reports from Sport (via DailyMail) turn out to be true.
Marcus Rashford is the most surprising of all the young strikers linked to Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo. Valued at €80m by Transfermarkt, the 21-year old Englishman who has had six goal involvements in nine league games (via Transfermarkt) for Manchester United and has been impressive in outings for the three lions of England recently. He is an acquisition that the same sources claim Barcelona rate lower than some others but is still an interesting option to have.
Looking at all these prices, it is safe to say that Lautaro Martinez seems like the most feasible option as well as the smartest one. Malen, although talented, will be coming from a lesser league. Mbappe who has also been linked to Barcelona lately is almost unattainable, and Rashford is not the smartest way to go.
Valued at £50m (via Express), blazing-hot Haaland might seem like a decent bargain but for a club like Barcelona, he doesn’t fit the mould of the kind of player you find in Blaugrana colours. Martinez should be the solution to Barcelona’s no.9 question and the most logical investment option as well.