Inter Milan waiting to see if Barcelona meet the $98m bid for Lautaro Martinez

Inter Milan are waiting to see if Barcelona will meet the £98m (€110m) release clause for Lautaro Martinez before it expires on July 7.

Inter chief executive Giuseppe Marotta says they don’t want to sell the Argentina striker, who has scored 16 goals in 31 appearances this season, but admits the decision could be taken out of his hands if Barcelona match Martinez’s release clause.

Marotta said: “We want to strengthen the team structure of which Lautaro is an important element, young, very keen and from talent he is now becoming a true champion

“This thanks to the work of [Antonio] Conte, of the club and himself. He has proven to have great football and professional skills. So much so as to recognise now that his path has not reached the peak yet and that he can still grow more with us.

“Inter does not want to sell, but to buy like big clubs do and we want to follow this line. There is a clause and it ends on July 7.

“We’ll see what Barcelona want to do and then we will see what he wants. Today it is important that he is focused and ready to give his contribution for everyone’s satisfaction.”

One Argentine striker has already departed Inter, with Mauro lcardi joining Paris Saint German on a permanent deal after impressing while on loan.

The French champions agreed to pay a fee of €50m (£45m) with €7m (£6.2m) in add-ons for Icardi, who joined them on loan last September.

Marotta described the transfer as “a very positive operation”.

“Born from loan, with the right to buy which PSG decided to apply, even if with a discount. We were all satisfied, us, PSG and the player,” Marotta said.

“We are all happy. It is the conclusion of a path we set out last year and we are happy of how it went.”

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While Icardi has made his loan move permanent, Marotta says Radja Nainggolan will return to Inter once his season-long loan with Cagliari expires.

The Belgium international has scored five goals this season, including the equaliser in Cagliari’s 1-1 draw against Inter in January.

Asked if Nainggolan has a future at Inter, Marotta replied: “It’s premature to say. There are still 13 matches to be played and many competitions still need to define how the transfer market will be, given that it is a peculiar one due to the pandemic which has economical and financial consequences.

“Answering your question, the management’s objective and that of the technical team is that of giving value to our assets and resources.

“Nainggolan is an important resource and when his loan will end he will come back. Then we will consider the best options for his future and for everyone involved.”

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