Inter director Beppe Marotta says Lautaro Martinez wants to sign a contract extension, but one ‘big player’ must be sold every year while ‘nobody’ at the club thinks about Romelu Lukaku who was as ‘disappointing’ as Milan Skriniar.

Marotta discussed Inter’s transfer strategy during an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.

Lautaro, the current Serie A leading scorer with 10 goals in eight matches, sees his contract expire in June 2026 but is eager to sign a new deal with the Serie A giants.

“Lautaro is not like Skriniar. If he expresses his desire to extend, which matches our will, it means we are on the right path and can continue together for a long time,” said Marotta.

“Having loyal footballers is an added value. If there is no sense of belonging, a player doesn’t even understand what it means to play or to win a derby. The best thing for a club is to have a player who refuses to join more important sides, remaining tied to his team.”

Marotta added that Lautaro is the best player in the league: “There’s nobody else like him right now,” he said.

The 66-year-old insisted he has no regrets about Lukaku’s exit last summer.

“The past is the past and nobody at the club thinks about him anymore. That being said, I’ve been working in football for many years and it is not the first time it has happened.”

When asked to offer a similar example, Marotta replied: “A player who pretended he wanted to extend, but was thinking about something else.”

A clear reference to Skriniar who joined PSG as a free agent last summer.

“I was so disappointed,” admitted Marotta.

“When a player doesn’t extend, he doesn’t go against club directors or the President. He goes against history and the value of the club. He wronged Inter, not people. He could have renewed. We offered him many solutions, even a release clause to protect him and Inter, but he always said no.”

Marotta explained why Inter used the budget that should have been invested in a striker to sign Benjamin Pavard instead last summer.

“We had the opportunity to get an important player for the present and the future,” he revealed.

“Pavard is a big asset value regardless of his role.”

Inter have been linked with Porto striker Mehdi Taremi for January, but Marotta doesn’t seem keen on the Iran international.

“I don’t think so, but we are Inter and we must be focused on every situation,” he said.

“Let me say something. Players used to be reluctant to join Inter in the past. Now, they want to come. We had to say no to many players last summer, while Thuram, Sommer and Pavard chose us. It means Inter are considered credible.

“Inter are a sustainability model,” continued Marotta.

“It’s unacceptable that owners must continuously put money. The Zhang family has invested €900,000. As a management, we have an advantage. We can work with tranquillity, this must be recognised to Zhang. However, there is no club that can’t afford to avoid player trading. A big player must be sold every year. Fans must understand this. More than being worried about a player, they must be concerned about the club’s everlasting life, the present and the future.”

Talking about the recent betting scandal involving Italian players, Marotta said: “I am sorry about what’s going on, but clubs and institutions are not doing enough to educate youths, the players of the future. It is not acceptable that we still have to live with such a phenomenon.

“Social media put these guys in contact with any sort of reality. They have a lot of free time, which they don’t spend well.”

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