Lautaro Martinez is still one of the top targets for FC Barcelona for the upcoming summer transfer window. However, Inter is still adamant about not letting the player move on in cheap, and it looks like Barcelona is going to have to pay a huge sum of money to get Martinez.

Instead of activating Martinez’s release clause of €111 or $124 million, Barcelona have been pursuing other methods to meet the clause, whether it be by including other players in the deal or by trying to persuade Inter to decrease its valuation.

On the other hand, Milan have been calmly dealing with Bracelona, who is hungry for a versatile striker because of Saurez’s dip in form and Icardi’s departure to PSG. 

The Italian club are putting their best bets on the fact that Martinez still has three years left in his contract that could only be triggered either by paying the release clause in full or with their agreement. They are also negotiating strongly because Martinez's release clause activation date will expire on the 7th of July this summer; that means they will have a year to negotiate a new deal with the player. 

However, the only thing bothering Inter is Martinezs repeated refusal to sign a new contract. The player’s value will likely decrease in the next transfer year if he keeps on refusing Inter's subsequent offers.

Amidst Barcelona’s and Inter’s negotiations, there now have been reports from Spanish outlets such as Mundodeportivo that Barcelona youngster Junior Firpo had been used to decrease Martinez’s valuation made by Inter. 

In this article, I will discuss the progression of negotiations between the two clubs on Lautaro Martinez and give my verdict if Junior Firpo should be sold to Inter at a cut-price. 

Barcelona’s Latest Offer To Inter Milan And Inclusion Of Junior Firpo

The Blaugranas have been pushing a cash-plus-players deal to Inter as they cannot pay his release clause in cash alone because of financial fair play provisions. In the past, the Catalan club had offered players such as Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, and Nelson Semedo. However, rumors about those players have disappeared as of late.

But, the latest player to be offered by Barca is left-back Junior Firpo. According to MundoDeportivo, Barcelona valued Firipo at €41 million and expected Inter to take €70 million cash for Martinez. However, Inter said it would only accept an offer if Firpo’s valuation was decreased to half of what Barcelona values at present.

The sports platform further reports that Inter would be willing to discuss a significant change in Martinez's valuation if negotiations also cover some significant players of Barcelona not currently under discussion.

Junior Firpo’s Valuation According to Inter and FC Barcelona

If the reporting of MundoDeportivo is accurate, Barcelona are willing to pay only €70 million-plus Firpo to buy the services of Martinez from Inter. This valuation suggests that they think Firpo is worth €41 million, which is more than double the fee that they paid for him initially. 

Junior Firpo in a match against Leganes CD in La Liga on the 16th of June 2020 (Photo: Junior Firpo’s Instagram)

If Inter do agree to this offer through some miracle, Barcelona will end up making a profit of around €23 million.

Should FC Barcelona Sell Junior Firpo To Inter For Lautaro Martinez?

Junior Firpo was brought in the 2019-20120 season to provide Jordi Alba some competition in the left-back department, as well as to be a long-term replacement for the Spaniard, who is now 31 years of age. However, he has not been able to impress under any of Barcelona’s two managers during his debut season at the club.

Firpo has one goal and two assists in 14 appearances for Barcelona and has been far from convincing in his game. However, he has started well after the restart of the league post the pandemic break. His best game in a Barcelona shirt, arguably, came against Leganes CD on matchday 29. He played for the whole 90 minutes and provided one assist to Ansu Fati.

This improvement could finally mean that Firpo is finding his feet at the club. With the coronavirus break, he may have got time to adapt to the team and understand his role under Quique Setien. He is an exciting talent if he can find his form, as evident by his time at Real Betis.

However, the club doesn’t completely trust him. Barcelona have been linked with Layvin Kurzawa of PSG in recent times, and the French left-back will be a free transfer if Barcelona do plan to go down that route next summer. If Kurzawa or any older left-back does come in, Firpo’s game time will be significantly curtailed.

Why Should Barcelona Keep Firpo and Not Buy Older Left-Back?

But, Barcelona should not bring in Kurzawa or any older left-back, mainly for two reasons. One is the age factor: Kurzawa is 27-years-old. Barcelona shouldn’t sell promising youngsters like Firpo because the core of its squad is around 30 age bracket. In such a context, it may not be a good idea to bring in a player who is also around the same age group.

Also, most of the older players don’t usually turn out to be world-class payers. Their form and physicality gradually diminish with the passing of the time. Even if an experienced and mature top-class player in form is to be targeted, they couldn’t usually be signed without paying a massive transfer fee. In most cases, such players are entered into the transfer market because of the age factor or worsened form. 

Likewise, in the case of Kurzawa, he has been in a terrible form recently. He has fallen out of favor at PSG under Tuchel and is a second-choice to Juan Bernat. Having made just 14 appearances during the 2019-20 season, he was in the starting lineup only nine times.

This should be a clear indicator for Barcelona that Firpo is a much better prospect to have than Kurzawa, considering he is younger and has also started to find some rhythm in his performances as of late. The club should not sell Firpo, not right now, anyway, even if it means getting Lautaro Martinez. He should be kept at the club and given time under Setien to prove himself.