Linked with a move for the young Argentine, Barcelona’s head coach believes any player would jump at the chance to team up with their star
Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to the La Liga giants, who are also reportedly interested in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.
He had only a limited impact in his debut season with Inter, playing understudy behind ex-club captain Mauro Icardi until the striker’s falling-out with Nerazzurri management.
But Icardi’s exit to PSG and the arrival of Antonio Conte at Inter have transformed Lautaro’s prospects, making him one of Europe’s hottest properties up front.
The 22-year-old’s form has also pushed him into the Argentina first team alongside Messi and having scored nine international goals in just 17 appearances he stands out as top scorer under Lionel Scaloni.
Setien has previously looked to play down rumours linking the former Racing Club wonderkid to Camp Nou.
“We talk about transfers, but this pandemic is going to condition many things. The situation of the clubs will be economically complicated,” he told Onda Cero.
“I am not pessimistic or optimistic with Lautaro. I like how I like great footballers, but I have no illusions with any.”
But when pressed on the matter, the Blaugrana coach praised the forward’s talent – and said playing alongside Messi could attract transfer targets to Barcelona.
“Lautaro Martinez is a great footballer,” Setien told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Messi likes him? We will have to ask him. All good players can attract Barcelona’s interest.
“As well as the fact that for many the fact of being able to play with Leo represents a huge incentive. Who wouldn’t want to play with Messi?”
Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He struck up a fine partnership alongside Romelu Lukaku, while also shining at international level in tandem with Messi.
Not everybody, however, is convinced a move to Barcelona is the right call.
“If I were him, I would stay at Inter, because at Barca he would be a substitute,” coaching great Fabio Capello signalled in a recent interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.