Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti sends message to Lautaro Martinez amid Chelsea transfer speculation


Chelsea have been keeping close tabs on Lautaro Martinez this season (Picture: Getty)

Inter Milan vice-president Javier Zanetti says he hopes Lautaro Martinez ‘stays a long time’ as he ‘represents a great asset for the club’ amid rumours Chelsea are interested in the striker.

Martinez, 22, has won plenty of admirers around Europe after an exceptional start to the Serie A campaign in which he has racked 11 goals in 22 appearances for third-placed Inter.

Barcelona were thought to be favourites for Martinez’s signature but recent reports claim that Chelsea and Manchester City have outbid the Catalan giants. It’s understood both Premier League clubs are willing to satisfy the forward’s £8.7million-a-year salary demands.

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However, Inter and Argentina legend Zanetti, now vice-president at the San Siro, has urged his fellow countryman to ignore the intense speculation and commit his future to the club.

‘I am enormously pleased to be talking about Lautaro,’ he told Sky Sport Italia.

‘We signed him when he was the most promising player in Argentine football.

‘Speaking to [ex-Inter star and Racing director of football] Diego Milito we saw that he could become a great player. Now he is only 22 and a fixture in the Argentina team. 

‘I watch him train every week in Appiano with his team-mates. He looks happy to me and I hope he stays a long time. 

‘As well as the other lads who have grown a lot, he represents a great asset for the club.’

Martinez has massively impressed Inter Milan icon Zanetti (Picture: Getty)

Inter defender Diego Godin has not been surprised by Martinez’s outstanding start to the season and has likened the attacker to global superstars Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero.

‘He has something of Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero about him,’ Godin told ESPN earlier this week.

‘Lautaro is learning to use his body, to play with his back to goal.

‘He is powerful, has a strong physique. He’s already confident, but that belief is growing with every game.

‘He shows skills and does things of players with 10-15 years more experience.’

On Martinez being compared to Antoine Griezmann, Godin added: ‘They have different characteristics.

‘But you can make parallels in terms of their age and potential.’

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