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Lautaro Martinez Is One of the World's Best Strikers, Says Mauricio Pochettino

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIMarch 20, 2020

MILAN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 12:  Lautaro Martinez of FC Internazionale looks on during the Coppa Italia Semi Final match between FC Internazionale and SSC Napoli at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on February 12, 2020 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)
Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez is one of the world's best strikers, according to former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentinian told Radio La Plata (h/t Andy Ha at Football.London) that the 22-year-old's quality and potential mean he will be a target for the top clubs.

"Lautaro Martinez is one of the best strikers in the world. It's not just for what he does now, but for what his potential means going forward. If you start looking at hitmen for the big clubs, clearly his name has to be in there."

The striker joined Inter Milan in 2018 from Racing Club after rejecting interest from both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, according to Goal's Iain Strachan.

Martinez scored nine goals in all competitions in his first season at San Siro but has thrived in 2019-20 alongside Romelu Lukaku in attack and under new manager Antonio Conte:

OptaPaolo @OptaPaolo

16 - #Lukaku and #Lautaro Martínez are the couple to have scored the most on the road in the Top-5 European Leagues 2019-20: 16 goals (10 Lukaku, 6 Lautaro). Tandem. #NapoliInter https://t.co/FVo4TYLPt3

The youngster's performances for the Serie A club have fuelled rumours he could be the subject of a big-money bid and leave Inter in the summer.

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La Liga champions Barcelona have offered Martinez a five-year contract, according to journalist Nicolo Shira:

Nicolò Schira @NicoSchira

#Barcellona are working for #LautaroMartinez. El Toro is #Barça’s first choice for the summer. They have offered to him a contract until 2025 with a wages of €7M + bonuses a year. #Inter would not want to sell his striker, but there is a release clause (€111M). #transfers #FCB

Captain Lionel Messi has praised his compatriot and said he hopes to moves to Barcelona, per football writer Dermot Corrigan:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

Messi on Lautaro Martinez: "He is spectacular, impressive ability, a great player, strong, very good one-on-one, scores lots, holds the ball, can battle with any defender. Such a quality, complete player, very like Luis [Suarez]. Hope he comes here and helps us "

Meanwhile, Premier League sides Chelsea and Manchester City are also keen on the forward, according to Sport (h/t Metro).

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti has spoken about the speculation and said Martinez is "happy" at the club and thinks he will continue playing in Italy in an interview with Radio Continental (h/t Football Italia).

Per Juan Jimenez at AS, Martinez has a release clause that drops to €111 million in the first two weeks of July, and Inter Milan are likely to receive plenty of interest in the striker when the transfer window reopens. 

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