Argentine Starlet Set for Inter Medical as I Nerazzurri Beat Barcelona & Arsenal in Transfer Tussle

?Inter appear to have beaten European rivals Barcelona and Arsenal to the signing of Lautaro Martinez, as reports suggest a medical is underway for the striker.

Sport Mediaset (h/t ?talkSPORT) have claimed that Martinez will undergo the first part of his fitness tests with the Serie A club in his native Argentina ahead of a proposed £17m deal.

The Gunners and La Blaugrana had been monitoring the wonderkid’s situation ahead of potentially making their own moves for him, but the duo are set to be disappointed if Martinez passes his medical and agrees personal terms with Inter.

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Martinez has played down reports that Inter and his current club Racing Club have agreed on a fee that would see him head to Europe, but Inter will be confident that they have snapped up one of the hottest prospects in South America.

If the 20-year-old passes his tests in his homeland, further examinations will take place in Milan upon his arrival before Inter officially sign off on the documents required to make him a Nerazzurri star.

That second round of tests would likely not take place until July, but a deal would be all-but-complete if Martinez doesn’t fail to pass the medical in Argentina.

(You may also be interested in ?Lautaro Martinez’s Father Claims Argentinian Star ‘Turned Down Real Madrid’ for Inter Move)

The Under-20 international has piqued the interest of the European trio in the past 12 months thanks to form that has seen him net 17 times in 43 senior appearances for Racing.

The bulk of those goals have come during a significant purple patch for Martinez, with 11 strikes plundered in just 13 matches so far this term, and will have led Inter to make the first move for his signature.

Barcelona and Arsenal have been interested in him – reportedly at least – since August and December of last year respectively, but both are now set to lose out to Inter in the race to capture Martinez’s services.


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Barcelona Starlet Reveals He Turned Down PSG and Liverpool Before Nou Camp Move

Ousmane Dembélé has revealed he turned down summer moves to Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain before agreeing to join Barcelona.

The 20-year-old, who was playing for Rennes at the time, spoke to ?Onze Mondial and admitted he had met with PSG before his move to Dortmund in 2016, and that clubs including Liverpool were interested in sealing his signature.

Dembele said: “I spoke to three clubs: Dortmund, Liverpool and Barcelona. had had a meeting with Barcelona. I had told them: ‘For next season it’s not possible, but the next time you contact me, I’ll come,’ and that is what happened.”

Dembélé eventually joined Borussia Dortmund in 2016 and, when Barcelona came back a year later, he joined the Catalan club for a fee of €105m – despite meeting with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. 

“I met Nasser,” he said. “We had set up a meeting. It went really well. He’s a great president. What struck me about him is that he is very humble, he’s calm – I had never seen that. Honestly, he’s a good guy.”

Dembélé also defended his decision to go on strike ahead of his transfer as he tried to force a switch to the Nou Camp after Dortmund initially refused the move.

“I had the impression I was missing out on my dream,” he said. “I had the reaction that I had, I totally accept that. What did you want me to do? That I say ‘no’ to Barcelona a second time? That was impossible for me.”

Dembélé has found his time at Barcelona plagued by injuries and has been limited to just seven first-team appearances this season.


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Barcelona Set to Close Deal for Young Brazilian Midfielder Next Week After Months of Speculation

Barcelona are set to close the signing of Grêmio midfielder Arthur next week, ahead of a move which would go through at the turn of the year.

A report from Brazilian outlet UOL (via ?Football Espana) claims that officials from the Brazilian club are due in the Spanish capital to ‘close’ the deal.

The Grêmio contingent set to fly in for talks is made up of their executive director Andre Zanotta, CEO Carlos Amoedo and lawyer Gabriel Vieira.

21-year-old Arthur has made 52 appearances for Grêmio, and his performances have caught the eyes of scouts from across Europe. The midfielder was particularly impressive when he played a key part in Grêmio’s Copa Libertadores winning squad last year.

It has been suggested that Arthur’s move to Barcelona could be sealed for €40m, a fee which falls short of his reported €50m release clause. The Brazilian has previously commented on his move, but gave little away when he addressed supporters last month.

“My move to the club is well on track, but nothing has yet been signed,” Arthur said, per Diario Sport (via Football Espana).

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The transfer, however, will not go through until January as ?all parties agreed for Arthur to remain at Gremio for the rest of the calendar year.

Barcelona are pushing ahead with the deal, despite the fact that they have already filled their quota of three non-EU players. South American trio Yerry Mina, Paulinho and Philippe Coutinho are currently occupying the three spaces.

However, it is reported that Coutinho is applying for a Portuguese passport to free up the final space in the Barcelona squad. It is also possible that Yerra Mina could move out on loan before Arthur’s arrival, which would also free up a non-EU space.


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Ousmane Dembele Reveals What Action He Has Taken to Keep Himself Fit for Barcelona Duty

?Barcelona winger Ousmane Dembele has revealed the measures he has taken to ensure he is in the best possible physical condition moving forward after suffering an injury ravaged first season at Camp Nou following his €145m arrival from Borussia Dortmund.

Dembele ruptured a hamstring muscle just 29 minute into his full Barça debut in September and was sidelined for four months as a result. He returned in early January, but further hamstring trouble again ruled him out and he’s started just once in La Liga since.

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Now, the 20-year-old is taking the mature approach and is making sure to look after himself in the best way he can.

“The first games have helped me to adapt. I’ve hired an osteopath and a cook. Diet is essential for a player and I have to look after myself,” Dembele explained in an interview with the latest edition of French magazine Onze Mondial.

He is even taking the positives out of his lengthy absence coming when it did, because it means he won’t be forced to miss the business end of the season.

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“I was injured but I was able to keep myself calm and serene,” he said. “I thought that it was better that it happened at the start of the season than at the end, when the most important games come.”

Dembele, who was deliberately left out of the recent Champions League clash with Chelsea, played the final 15 minutes as Barça drew 1-1 with Las Palmas on Thursday night. It remains to be seen if he will be involved when the team faces second place Atletico Madrid at the weekend.


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Las Palmas 1-1 Barcelona: La Liga Leaders Drop Points Yet Again to Blow Title Race Wide Open

Las Palmas were able to hold La Liga leaders Barcelona to a single point at the Estadio Gran Canaria on Thursday night, drawing 1-1 with the Spanish giants ahead of their all-important fixture against Atletico Madrid.

The visitors came into this match having refused to be beaten by the Canary Islanders since 1986. 

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Lionel Messi was handed the first opportunity of the match in the sixth minute, but the Argentinian failed to exert enough control after receiving a pass from Aleix Vidal in the box on the keeper’s right and the ball went out for a goal kick.

Barca were provided yet another golden opportunity just moments later when Messi picked the ball off a Las Palmas player just past the halfway line and barged forward, with just one defender back to deal with both himself and a partnering Luis Suarez. 

Messi squared the ball off to the former Liverpool striker, but the pass seemed to put Suarez off just enough for Leandro Chichizola to make an important save when the shot was let off.

The Barca magician made good on his next opportunity, however, powering a free-kick past the Las Palmas wall to stick the ball into the top-left corner of the goal in the 20th minute, after going down from a foul.

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The Catalan supremos seemed sure to double their lead in the first half, at the very least, yet the home side managed to keep score at 1-0 heading into halftime.

Las Palmas would even go one better shortly after the start of the second period, shocking Ernesto Valverde’s men through Jonathan Calleri’s spot kick in the 48th minute.

The visitors, who hadn’t had a penalty given against them in 78 games, were quite perplexed after seeing the referee point to the spot – as were all of the fans in the stadium, given that the reason for the decision simply wasn’t clear.

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Subsequent replays, however, would show that the ball had come off the arm of Lucas Digne after careening off the post, following a corner.

With around six minutes left in regulation, the hosts got handed a great opportunity to take the lead through Tana, who made a fantastic run to get in behind the Barca defence. But rather unselfishly, the winger tried playing the ball across the box to Alen Halilovic only for it to be cut out by Samuel Umtiti.

La Blaugrana were afforded six minutes of stoppage time by the official, but the Canary Islands outfit were able to hold on to what should be a crucial point in their bid for survival, and their first against Barca in 17 years.

Barca, meanwhile, head into their match against Atletico with just five points between them, leaving fans reasonably worried now that the gap could potentially be further trimmed.

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Lineups

Las Palmas: Chichizola; Aguirregaray, Ximo, Gálvez, D. Castellano; Halilovi?, Gómez, Etebo; Samperio, Calleri, Tana

Substitutes: Raul, Garcia, Macedo, J. Castellano, Toledo, Aquilani, Exposito

Barcelona: ter Stegen; Roberto, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Digne; Vidal, Paulinho, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez

Substitutes: Cillessen, Pique, Gomes, Rakiti?, Coutinho, Dembele, Alcacer

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