Weeks of speculation appear to be over with reports that Racing Club striker Lautaro Martínez has already completed a medical and signed a six-year deal with Atlético Madrid, only to remain in Avellaneda until June 2018.
Negotiations have been ongoing for months with European clubs aware of Martínez’s bargain release clause of €9 million and the forward’s agent Rolando Zárate saying in August that a move to Atleti was ‘99% chance of happening’, but the player had agreed with Racing that he would not force through a deal in order to raise that amount.
Atlético now appear to have completed the deal for €12 million but will leave the 20-year-old with Racing until June.
With the likes of Borussia Dortmund circling, Atleti moved swiftly to meet Racing’s increased price and in allowing Martínez to remain at the Cilindro ahead of the 2018 Copa Libertadores, kept president Victor Blanco happy.
Even at €12 million, Diego Simeone’s side have completed an outstanding piece of business for one of South America’s best young talents and his rumoured €70 million future release clause is perhaps evidence of that.
Quick, tenacious and a natural goal-scorer, Martínez has proven himself at youth level for Argentina and at every opportunity in Racing’s first team. After missing the start of this season through injury, the 20-year-old has returned to contribute an impressive three goals and an assist in five matches.
Atlético have perhaps mixed experience with their Argentinian signings in recent years but in Lautaro Martínez they have undoubtedly one of the country’s most exciting talents and at a discount price.