Racing Club and Argentina under-20 striker Lautaro Martínez is close to completing an €11 million move to Atlético Madrid according to the player’s agent.
The likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid have all been linked with the 20-year-old, regarded as one of Argentina’s brightest talents, but while Racing may have wanted to increase his buyout clause, Rolando Zárate claims an offer has been accepted.
The rumoured €11 million fee is actually €2 million higher than Martínez’s current buyout clause but remains an undeniable bargain in the current market. Racing will be losing an outstanding forward but will at least retain the youngster for another year before Martínez moves to Atleti next summer.
“There is a 99 percent chance that the deal will be done,” Zárate told told Fox Sports.
“Lautaro asked us expressly for the transfer to be completed. He likes the idea of Atlético Madrid and they have agreed to it.
“He wants to remain for another season because he wants to play the Copa Libertadores with Racing.”
Last season with injuries to Gustavo Bou and Lisandro López at various points, Martínez demonstrated his ability to be Racing’s main striker and the academy product’s nine league goals fired the club back into the Copa Libertadores.
Martínez will start the new Superliga season on the sidelines after suffering a metatarsal injury but looks set for a huge, and likely ultimate, campaign in Avellaneda.
Racing president Víctor Blanco was concerned that a club would come for his prize asset and said earlier in the transfer window: “If it were up to me I would increase his release clause to €40 million because he is worth that.”
As an all-round striker with pace, power and tenacity, an ability to drop deep and link play, drift wide and beat defenders and instinctively finish in the penalty area, Martínez’s potential knows no bounds.
In an era where Argentina’s youth sides have struggled, the Racing striker is one of the few to have regularly impressed and such interest from Europe is no surprise given that Martínez scores goals at every level.
Atlético’s transfer ban means that they are unable to register new players until January 2018 but moving early to secure a deal for Martínez at €11 million would be a tremendous bit of business.