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Manchester City ‘look to beat Barcelona to Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez for £81m’

Manchester City are ‘ready to splash £81m on highly-rated Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez’.

The 22-year-old who has scored 30 goals for the Serie A side this season has persistently been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months.

However the Sun have reported that Pep Guardiola is keen on swooping for a long-term replacement to club legend Sergio Aguero.

The report states that Harry Kane is seen as the first-target but that City know it will be ‘impossible’ to land the Tottenham striker this summer.

So alternatively they are focusing on Martinez as the ideal replacement for his compatriot.

Aguero, who has scored 254 goals in 370 appearances for City has just one year left on his contract at the Etihad.

He is currently believed to be favouring a move back to Argentina at the end of his contract though City would be willing to extend his deal.

Guardiola also has Gabriel Jesus at the club with Aguero potentially leaving, it is incentive to the Spaniard to have a long-term replacement ready to take over the City’s all-time leading goalscorer.

Barcelona have long seen Martinez as a potential long-term replacement to Luis Suarez whose future at the Nou Camp is uncertain with the club willing to sell the 33-year-old Uruguayan.

Inter signed Martinez from Racing Club in Argentina for £20m two years ago and has represented Argentina on 17 occasions, scoring nine times.

He has become an important asset for the club and formed a formidable partnership with Romelu Lukaku, though he was unable to stop the club falling to defeat against Sevilla in the Europa League final.

Martinez has a release clause worth £81m which City are able to match, though they would reportedly like to offload some players to help fund more buying.

After a disappointing season in which they only won the Carabao Cup and Community Shield, Manchester City have already been active in this summer’s transfer window.

So far, they have signed Nathan Ake from Bournemouth for £41m and Ferran Torres from Valencia for just over £20m. 

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