Lautaro Martinez has stepped up a gear this season under Antonio Conte. Performing at the level that he has been means only one thing. Powerhouse clubs will come for him and fight for his signature. It is little surprise, in this sense, that Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the Argentine forward.
TYC Sport claimed recently that the Argentine has a release clause of €111 million, with the Los Blancos keen on triggering that and signing him in the summer of 2020. They also say that Madrid are ready to hand Martínez a 14-million-euro annual salary, with Florentino Perez currently seeing the striker as a personal favourite.
There is no doubt about Lautaro’s quality. This season has been his first full one at Inter, as Mauro Icardi now finds himself at Paris Saint-Germain. He wasn’t exactly a regular last season but has scored 17 goals in Champions League and Serie A combined.
Under Luciano Spalletti last season, he would play in a one-striker shape. But this season, he’s played as a second-striker in a 3-5-2 shape around a much bigger striker in Romelu Lukaku. Conte has tapped into his ability to be a workhorse striker. The Argentine does more just score goals. He holds up play, creates and gets involved in the build-up.
He’s been performing exactly as per his XG, scoring 11 goals in the Serie A. He’s done that by taking as many as 5.07 shots on target per 90 minutes. It shows that while he takes a very high amount of shots, they are all not the easiest of chances but he still manages to bury them. 0.63 is the highest XG goal he has scored this season.
Former Inter man Hernan Crespo had praised Martinez for being a ‘potential champion’. He had told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Lautaro is great. Young, perhaps still immature, but very talented. He does impressive things and, above all, he knows how to always find himself in the right place at the right time.
It shows that he’s a very good finisher and someone that is tough to mark, considering his small size and quickness. At the age of 22, he’s yet to complete himself and will only improve as a striker.
As for Real, they don’t seem to need a striker currently. Karim Benzema has scored 18 times in all competitions, racking up nine assists as well. While the recent patch hasn’t been good enough, but he’s still a potent goalscorer nonetheless.
Because of this form, Luka Jovic has been in the shadows and hasn’t played enough. The expensive signing from Eintracht Frankfurt was seen as a long-term option and was seen as someone who will step in once Benzema fades into the background.
He has played only 764 minutes of first-team football, meaning he will play more in the long-term. He’s yet to get in the grove of playing regularly, scoring just two goals so far.
In that sense, signing another striker to increase their options will not make much sense for Real. And signing him for a huge amount of money will be a stupid thing to do. There may be a generational change at the club, but signing strikers for the sake of it won’t be a sensible thing to do.