Lionel Messi's hopes of Barcelona signing his Argentinian compatriot Lautaro Martinez have suffered a blow as Inter Milan revealed there are no talks taking place between the clubs.
It has only just been confirmed that Messi will not be leaving Barca this summer despite his request for a transfer.
But while the 33-year-old is staying put, his close friend Luis Suarez is being offloaded to Juventus.
Martinez, 23, is deemed as a worthy successor to Suarez – particularly by Messi, who labelled the forward as "spectacular".
However in an interview with Libero on TyC Sports , Inter's vice-president Javier Zanetti has poured cold water on any suggestions of a transfer.
"In his case, being just a young player with such potential, it's normal for other teams to look at him," Zanetti said. "But what I see each day is a Lautaro who wants to stay in Italy.
"At the moment, there are no negotiations between Inter and Barcelona.
"We're happy with him and I know he's happy here too.
"He knows that he's at a great club and that he's improving a lot thanks to the coach [Antonio Conte]."
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Martinez is valued at around £100million after his impressive season which saw him score 21 goals in 49 appearances for Inter.
Barcelona would need to sell some of their current crop of stars in order to raise funds for such a transfer, but Martinez would no doubt fit the bill for Messi, who recently described his club side as "weak and erratic."
Messi has seen the striker at first hand on international duty, and was impressed by his talents.
Would Martinez be a good replacement for Luis Suarez? Have your say below.
"He has impressive qualities," Messi said previously. "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."
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