Javier Zanetti urges No.10 centre-forward to stay amid Chelsea interest

Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti says he hopes Lautaro Martinez ‘stays a long time’ as he ‘represents a great asset for the club’ amid talks Blues are interested in him. Argentina international has won many admirers across Europe after an impressive start to the Serie A season in which he has racked 11 goals in 22 games for the Nerazzurri.

Blaugrana were thought to be favourites for Lautaro’s signature, but recent reports claim that Chelsea and Man City have outbid the La Liga giants. It’s understood both Premier League clubs are willing to satisfy Martinez’s £8.7m-a-year salary demands.

However, Inter Milan and Argentina star Javier, now vice-president has urged his fellow countryman to ignore the intense speculation and commit his future to the club. ‘I am enormously pleased to be talking about Martinez,’ he said. ‘We signed him when Lautaro was the most talented figure in Argentine football.

‘Speaking to Diego Milito, we saw that he could become a great player. Now he is just 22 and a fixture in Argentina team. I watch him train every week in Appiano with his partners. He seems happy to me, and I hope he remains a long time. As well as the other lads who have grown a lot, Lautaro represents a great asset for the club.’

Inter Milan centre-back Diego Godin has not been surprised by the Argentine centre-forward’s excellent start to the campaign and has likened the striker to global strikers Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero. ‘Lautaro has something of Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero about him,’ Diego said earlier this week.