Arsenal is prepared to offer Hector Bellerin to Inter Milan in a player-plus-cash deal for Lautaro Martinez, according to reports. The Argentine has emerged as a surprise ambitious target for Mikel Arteta, who is looking to add more quality to his ranks in a bid to secure the return of Champions League football at the Emirates Stadium.
Martinez would certainly be a major statement if the Gunners were able to entice Inter into a sale.
The 23-year-old is happy at Inter Milan though and has previously been a target for Barcelona.
Any deal would be hard to pull off though – even despite Inter’s financial problems – with Martinez’s value thought to be around £80million.
Yet according to journalist Pete O’Rourke, Arsenal could use Bellerin as a makeweight in a deal.
Inter are thought to be keen on adding the Spaniard to their squad anyway to replace Archaf Hakimi.
The Moroccan has headed to Paris Saint-Germain and Bellerin is amongst a host of names on Inter’s shortlist.
He is valued at around £20million, which would enable Arsenal to keep the price down when Martinez is concerned.
Bellerin has been told he can leave this summer with his contract now in the final two years.
Real Betis and Atletico Madrid were amongst those keen but Arsenal have not received any formal offers.
Any deal for Martinez could ultimately hinge on the future of Alexandre Lacazette though.
The Frenchman also has two years remaining on his current deal in north London and is unlikely to sign an extension.
That’s why Arsenal are willing to entertain offers this summer but there has been little interest in Lacazette.
Martinez helped fire Argentina to Copa America glory this summer, much to the joy of Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona forward has made it clear that he rates Martinez as amongst the best strikers in world football.
“He’s spectacular,” he said. “He has impressive qualities. You could tell he was going to be a great player and he is showing that.
“He’s very strong, really good one on one, scores a lot of goals and in the area he fights with anyone, holds it up, he can turn, scrap to win it all on his own. He has a lot of quality. He’s very complete.”