Arsenal and Tottenham’s hopes of landing Lautaro Martinez have suffered a blow after he agreed a new deal in principle with Inter Milan which won’t contain a release clause.
Both clubs looked to sign the striker in the summer but the Italians blocked his exit after agreeing to sell Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea.
Arsenal and Spurs have continued to keep tabs on the Argentina international in the first few weeks of the season.
But they will know the fact there is no release clause in the proposed contract means Inter will have a strong hand in any future negotiations.
Martinez, 24, had just two years left to run on his contract at the San Siro in the summer, opening the door to interest from the Premier League pair.
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He was valued at around £55million in the summer but that figure will rise on the back of the new deal.
The news will also come as a bitter blow to Barcelona, who had reportedly been tracking Martinez with view to signing him.
Barcelona's financial situation made big-money targets difficult to recruit but Martinez's clause would have given them a chance of striking a deal within their budget.
Inter are said to be keen on making Martinez the first of a handful of important players to extend their contracts at the club.
According to Tuttosport, they are also hopeful of tying down Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Milan Skriniar and Stefan De Vrij.
Martinez has already scored twice in two games in Serie A this season, with all eyes now on him to fill Lukaku's boots as Inter's main source of goals.
Asked his thoughts on whether Martinez could do it, former Inter striker Julio Cruz told Gazzetta dello Sport : “He has collected a very heavy legacy, Lukaku at Inter proved to be a devastating player, at times unstoppable.
"If he's [Martinez] ready to be a leader, the pitch will tell him, I think it’s still early days, but he’s already on the right track.
“He loves working for the team, being the first to go under pressure to help in the defence, but his habitat is the penalty area. And that’s where it has to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal are facing the prospect of losing two strikers for nothing next summer, as Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah are into the final nine months of their current deals.
Nketiah is looking increasingly likely to leave after Arsenal were even willing to cut their asking price from £20m to £12m to try and attract bidders before a proposed switch to Crystal Palace collapsed before the transfer deadline.
Lacazette's future has also remained up in the air, with reports claiming the 30-year-old has not yet been offered a new deal.
So far this season the Frenchman has made just two appearances as a substitute and was left on the bench during Saturday's win over Burnley.