Lautaro Martinez is 22 and one of Inter’s most important players. Not just Inter, but the striker is also a vital part of the Argentine national team.
Since he joined from Racing Club in the summer of 2018, Martinez has slowly grown in stature. From playing second-choice to Mauro Icardi to playing as the first-choice striker alongside Romelu Lukaku- he has come a long way in just about 12 months.
So far this season, the striker has scored seven times in all competitions for the Nerazzurri. This includes two Champions League goals- one against Barcelona and another against Borussia Dortmund.
Last season, Lautaro made only 13 starts for the club. He appeared 14 times from the bench and scored six times in the Serie A. But under Antonio Conte, something has changed for the man from Bahia Blanca.
He is now playing under a manager who has had a history of working wonders with workhorse strikers. Be it Diego Costa or Carlos Tevez, Conte has made things work with players like Lautaro.
Tevez was approaching the twilight years of his career when he joined Conte at Juventus. But the former Manchester City man thrived.
In the 2013-14 season, Tevez made 34 appearances for the Bianconeri. He scored as many as 19 times for the club, assisting seven times. He played as the second-striker in a 3-5-2 shape that season, alongside a more proper target-man like Fernando Llorente.
Costa, on the other hand, played in the middle of a 3-4-3 shape under Conte at Chelsea in the 2016-17 season. Flanked by players like Eden Hazard, Pedro and often Willian, the Spanish international scored 20 times in the Premier League. He played 35 games, also assisted eight times.
While Costa’s relationship with Conte broke down next season, it was lovely till it lasted. Lautaro should look at both Tevez and Costa and see Conte as someone who can change his life.
Like how it was at Juve, Lautaro has played alongside a proper target-man in Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian has scored nine times in 11 games himself, with the duo already racking up a lot of praise for their link-up.
Conte recently said:
“Beyond Lukaku, I like to talk about Lautaro’s great performance. Two strikers who play for the team in both halves are refining this understanding more and more. We’re talking about two boys aged 22 and 26, they can only grow up and stay here for another 10 years.”
The way they play together is reminiscent of the Tevez-Llorente duo. Tevez scored 18 times that season in the Serie A, with the former Tottenham man scoring 16 times. Paul Pogba grabbed 11 assists and played as the most advanced midfielder- like what Stefano Sensi does at Inter.
Tevez went onto help Juve reach the Champions League final in the 2014-15 season. He scored 20 times in the Serie A and scored seven times in the Champions League too.
That serves as testimony to how Tevez found himself at Juve, because of Conte’s style. That is why Lautaro too, can connect very well, especially with Lukaku upfront.
The fee he joined the club for €22.7 million– a fee that seems like peanuts now. Lautaro has done enough to justify that fee and the way he is playing has attracted interest from Manchester United and Barcelona already. And it is hardly a surprise.
But Inter have the advantage, considering that the player has a release clause of €111 million in his current deal. Inter will earn around €90 million from a potential sale anyway.
But considering how he will spark the club’s rise under Conte, they should keep him and increase that release clause. That way, they will earn about €100 million in profits from his potential sale in two seasons.