Adrian Ruben Fernandez, the president of Racing Club’s youth academy, has claimed that Lionel Messi has been in contact with former player and current Inter striker Lautaro Martinez regarding a move to Barcelona.

In an interview with the online edition of Spanish news outlet Sport, Fernandez firstly recalled Lautaro’s arrival at the club as a youngster.

“I will never forget it. It was November 2013 and there were trials. Fabio Radaelli and Alfredo Acosta saw him on one of the teams and called me immediately: ‘Adrian, there’s an extraordinary player, we have to sign him whatever.’

“I told them our 1997 generation was already full of top talents, that we didn’t have space, but Fabio insisted that we backed this kid, so we signed him. Lautaro came in January 2014 and lived at the academy for two or three years.

“He was a clever kid, focused and humble. He always knew he wanted to be a professional. He did everything possible to achieve it and never lost sight of his big objective.”

He then went on to confirm that Lautaro did indeed reject a move to Real Madrid when he was 18-years-old.

“He rejected an offer when he was with us from Real Madrid. We told him the most important thing at that stage was to continue with Racing, to make his debut and to spend some time in the Argentine league. Luckily he listened to us and made his debut in October 2015 when he was just 18, coming on for none other than Diego Milito.”

Next Fernandez spoke on comparisons that have been made between Lautaro and Manchester City and Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and tipped Lautaro to have a good career.

“He has the same qualities as Sergio Aguero. I think he’s on that path and will have a successful career like him. I would even say Lautaro is better in the air and much better with his left foot, but he will have to prove that with time. I hope he can.”

In conclusion he spoke on Messi contacting the 22-year-old, who, as per various reports, is one of Barcelona’s top transfer targets ahead of the upcoming Summer transfer window.

“Messi called him and wants him by his side soon, I have no doubt. For that reason, the deal to sign him is almost there. I know things will go well in Barcelona and that Lautaro will be an excellent replacement for Suarez.

“He’s the ideal heir. Thanks to Barça he will continue to grow as a player and a man.”

This season Lautaro, who has a contract with Inter until 2023, has made 31 appearances across all competitions to date, in which he has scored 16 goals and provided a total of four assists for his teammates.