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Barcelona plan to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez despite coronavirus crisis


The Spanish giants have made the South American duo their top targets (Pictures: Getty)

Barcelona will push hard to sign both Neymar and Lautaro Martinez this summer and are confident they will not have to break the bank due to the changing nature of the transfer market.

Football around the world has been suspended due to the coronavirus crisis, with clubs already struggling to cope financially as FIFA consider opening the transfer window early to allow teams to offload players and ease their woes.

Many club officials believe the days of nine-figure transfers are over, with player swaps and trades instead becoming more common over the coming months.

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According to Spanish newspaper Sport, that has seen Barcelona step up their pursuit of top targets Neymar and Martinez and they believe they can secure them for significantly less than their asking prices.

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Barca intend to offer PSG and Inter a host of world-class players as part of the deals, significantly lowering the financial outlay.

Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Nelson Semedo and Samuel Umtiti will all be offered to PSG to choose from, with Barca hoping to get the cash part of a deal for Neymar down to less than half of the £198m the French side paid.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu hinted at a focus on player trades, telling Mundo Deportivo: ‘In this summer window swap operations are predicted, there will not be so much money, so much cash, but there will be more player exchanges.’

Neymar – who returned to Brazil before France’s lockdown – is believed to be keen to return to Camp Nou, while Lionel Messi has previously given the move his approval.

The Brazilian is seen as the ideal long-term heir to Messi, while the club are also looking at Martinez and believe his all-round game makes him the perfect foil for the duo as well as being able to contribute with goals.

Martinez and Messi have struck up a good connection for Argentina (Picture: Getty)

Barca are in need of fresh blood in attack, having been forced to sign Martin Braithwaite in an emergency deal after Luis Suarez picked up an injury – although the former Leganes man played just 127 minutes before La Liga was suspended.

Inter are believed to be willing to let Martinez leave if they receive cash-plus-players, with head coach Antonio Conte keen on a number of Barca’s surplus-to-requirements stars including Coutinho.

MORE: Xavi urges Barcelona to move for Neymar, Jadon Sancho and Serge Gnabry

MORE: Paris Saint-Germain set price for Barcelona to sign Neymar

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