Former Inter defender Francesco Colonnese discussed Inter forward Lautaro Martinez in an interview with Italian media outlet FcInter1908 earlier today.

“First of all, in my opinion he’s the player who has improved more than the entire squad this season compared to last year. Under Spalletti’s management he was almost a problem, while this year he became the most important player in Conte’s 3-5-2. The typical second striker that allows you to play that way. He’s fast, he’s mean, he scores goals, he helps the team, he holds the ball up and he also acts as a link between departments. Strong and very young. In my opinion, Inter must try at all costs to keep him. I don’t see many strong young players with those characteristics out there.”

Colonnese then discussed how Inter need to keep Lautaro if they are looking to build a strong squad that can fight for both the league title and the Champions League.

“And you have to consider that Lukaku needs a forward like Lautaro alongside him. In my day there were many with those characteristics, now there aren’t many. If Inter wants to build a great team, they have to keep Martinez. It’s clear there’s an important clause, and maybe in the face of certain offers it might be difficult to keep him. But I say Inter would do well to keep him.”

He spoke about the possibility of exchanging Lautaro for French forward Antoine Griezmann, who has struggled to settle in Barcelona since his arrival last summer.

“I know Griezmann very well, since I often follow my friend Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. In that 4-4-2, he was the ideal player. He could be a solution. Griezmann made a difference in Spain, but Italy is something else. I like him, but he’s not exactly a second striker like Conte wants. He played a little wide in Atletico, almost on the wings. He was good at creating space and scoring goals. I don’t know if he would suit the 3-5-2 Conte likes.”

Finally, Colonnese spoke about Inter coach Antonio Conte and whether he is a good fit for the Nerazzurri.

“I never would have imagined it, he knows my Inter well. It’s absurd, but life is good for that. He took to the job brilliantly. He’s a professional and he’s also made it clear he’s supporting the team he coaches. He’s proving he deserves Inter. We’re very happy that he’s understood how beautiful the Nerazzurri environment is, because some from the outside doesn’t realize it. The fact that he’s so overwhelmed by Inter says a lot about the fans’ love for this team. I also remember during my matches the stadium was always full.”

The 29-year-old Griezmann, who is contracted to the Blaugrana until 2024, has struggled to shine in Catalonia with Barcelona this season. The player has made 37 appearances across all competitions, for a total of 2951 minutes. In that time, he has scored 14 goals and provided four assists.

Barcelona are incredibly keen to sign Lautaro in the upcoming summer transfer window, as they believe that he would be the perfect replacement for the aging Luis Suarez, who is currently sidelined with a serious injury.