Arsenal are plotting to use Hector Bellerin as a makeweight in an ambitious ‘player-plus-cash’ offer for Inter Milan star Lautaro Martinez, according to stunning reports.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has identified the 23-year-old Argentine striker as a potential target in his bid to secure a top-four Premier League finish next season.
Martinez, who lifted the Copa America title with Argentina this summer, has made a name for himself at Inter since signing from Argentine side Racing Club in 2018.
The Argentina international, whose current deal with Inter will expire in 2023, has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona.
Inter are expected to cut down their wage bill in the transfer window amid financial problems at the club, but they would hold out for a hefty fee for Martinez.
Journalist Pete O’Rourke now reports that Bellerin could be included in a deal to lower the cost of securing Martinez, who is valued at around £80m.
Bellerin has been told that he can leave the Emirates this summer, despite his current Arsenal contract running until 2023.
The 26-year-old Spanish right-back is valued at around £20m and would reduce the upfront cost for a potential Martinez deal.
Inter are reportedly interested in securing the services of Bellerin after Achraf Hakimi’s stunning £51.3m move to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
Despite Arsenal’s hope of securing Martinez, the Inter striker would only leave the San Siro for one of three clubs in Spain.
That is according to Sport Mediaset reporter Marco Barzaghi (via Football Italia), who claims the Arsenal target would only sign for Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid.
Martinez’s long-term future at Inter remains unclear as the Serie A champions are keen to tie the Argentine to a new deal.
Football Italia reports that talks between Martinez’s representatives and Inter are ‘not progressing well’ and he could even leave on a free in 2023.
Inter would reportedly bump up Martinez’s wages in a new deal alongside removing his current £99.7m (€111m) release clause.
Featured Image Credit: PA