According to latest reports, Manchester United are involved in advanced talks with Ajax to sign Lisandro Martinez, who is also a priority transfer target for Arsenal. The Red Devils have submitted a formal offer for the 24-year-old in an attempt to hijack the deal, rivalling the offer made by the Gunners this week.
United have had a quiet transfer window so far, but concrete advancements took place over the course of last week. The Red Devils initially wanted to sign Jurrien Timber from Ajax to improve their faulty defence, but the player’s reluctance to move to Old Trafford shifted the club’s attention towards the Argentinian defender.
Lisandro Martinez has worked with United manager Erik ten Hag for the past three years when they were at Ajax. The 24-year-old defender had become a regular name on the team sheet. He was also voted as Ajax’s Player of the Season in the 2021/22 campaign as they won the Eredivisie title. This reflects how important a player he has become for the Dutch champions and they wouldn’t be willing to lose him cheaply.
Manchester United are keen on signing Lisandro Martinez this summer, but Arsenal moved into the driving seat to sign the Ajax defender by submitting an improved second offer this week. The Gunners’ submitted a proposal of €40m (£35m) including bonuses.
Now, according to Goal, United have tabled an official bid of €45m (£39.3m) for Lisandro Martinez, improving on the deal proposed by Arsenal. The deal includes a €40m (£35m) payment upfront, plus a further €5m (£4.3m) as add-ons. Nevertheless, Ajax are yet to respond to any of the offers submitted by the two clubs.
Moreover, as reported by The Athletic, the Red Devils are now involved in advanced negotiations with the Eredivisie club, with the Manchester club being touted as favourites to sign the Argentine. The report states that the player is intrigued by the possibility of reuniting with Erik ten Hag.
The defender is keen to make a move to the Premier League but now has a decision to make. United have an advantage over Arsenal after the recent appointment of their new manager. The Dutch manager is using his relationship with the players at Ajax to convince them to make a move to Old Trafford.
Lisandro Martínez and his camp will be clear again with Ajax board: he only wants Premier League football. So he wants to make a choice between Arsenal and Man United proposals, hoping for Ajax to let him go. 🔴 #transfers
Erik ten Hag, confident on this deal – pushing again. pic.twitter.com/ivkaHhCNvu
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 3, 2022
Manchester United are desperate to make additions to the squad since they are well behind their competitors. Nevertheless, Lisandro Martinez is not a player to lose out on and definitely not a player that you can let join a direct rival. The Argentine has made a very strong case for himself in the European club competitions last season.
United have struggled massively in the defensive department last season. They had a goal difference of zero at the end of the recently concluded Premier League campaign. This stat shows how much United have leaked goals throughout the season, even against teams in the relegation zone. Signing a centre-back seems very crucial for the club and Martinez is the priority option for Ten Hag.
Why Manchester United Should Prioritize Strengthening Their Defence First?
As previously established, Manchester United had zero goal difference at the end of the 2021-22 campaign. They conceded 57 goals in a total of 38 matches. Relegated side Burnley had conceded fewer goals (53) than the Red Devils in the previous campaign. The club should consider themselves lucky that David de Gea had got his form back or else it could have been worse.
The Spanish goalkeeper made 128 saves in the league which was the third-highest in 2021-22. Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker (76 saves) and Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson (60 saves) collectively made 136 saves last season (stats via Premier League). United’s backline has been so inconsistent and that needs to change at the earliest.
Harry Maguire’s countless errors have cost the Red Devils quite a few games last season. Not only Maguire but a share of the blame also falls on the underperformance of all the full-backs at the club. There were only a handful number of moments from last campaign that the United full-backs can enjoy. To compound the problems, Raphael Varane also spent a substantial amount of time on the sidelines through injuries.
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The 24-year-old Eredivisie defender will provide the necessary squad depth to Manchester United. He is likely to get directly into the starting lineup at Old Traffordconsidering his form and history with Ten Hag.
The Argentine can play in three positions and coincidentally, the Manchester club have a weakness in all those three positions. He primarily plays as a centre-back but can also provide necessary backup as a left-back and also as a defensive midfielder. It will be a huge loss for United if Lisandro Martinez decides to join their rivals Arsenal.
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