Manchester United finally agree a £46m deal with Ajax for versatile defender Lisandro Martinez
Manchester United FINALLY reach an agreement with Ajax over the structure of a £46m deal to sign Lisandro Martinez… with the defender set to join forces with former boss Erik ten Hag and his new team-mates in Australia
- Lisandro Martinez missed Ajax training session as Man United ironed out deal structure
- He made it clear to Ajax that he wanted to fulfill his dream of moving to the Premier League
- Ajax were initially reluctant to sell the player of the year
- Martinez intervened when it became clear United meant business
Manchester United have agreed with Ajax on defender Lisandro Martinez.
The Argentine missed training on Thursday as clubs ironed out the payment structure for the £46m transfer and he is now ready to link up with his new team-mates in Australia.
Lisandro had made it clear to Ajax that he wanted to fulfill his dream of moving to Ajax First League this summer and will reunite with his former boss Eric ten Hag with whom he has a strong bond.
Manchester United have agreed defender Lisandro Martinez with Ajax
The Argentine is now ready to work alongside Erik ten Hag and his new team-mates in Australia
United director of football John Murtough and chief executive Richard Arnold held lengthy talks with fellow Ajax members Edwin van der Sar, Gerry Hamstra and Klaas Jan Huntelaar on Wednesday before returning to Manchester. Further talks followed on Thursday to iron out finer details and an agreement is now in place.
Lisandro’s determination to make the move was crucial as Ajax were initially reluctant to sell the 24-year-old, who was the club’s player of the year last season.
They initially turned down offers from Arsenal and United but Lisandro stepped in when it became clear United were serious and the player received reassurances from Ten Hag.
Ajax, meanwhile, have turned their attention to Rangers defender Calvin Bassey as a possible replacement for Martinez.
The 24-year-old will reunite with his former boss Ten Hag, with whom he has a strong bond
Ajax had inquired about Shakhtar’s Mykola Matvienko but made an offer for Bassey. Brighton have also made a move for the Nigeria international, 22, who has impressed during Rangers’ Europa League campaign and is valued at £25million.
Lisandro, whose idol is former United defender Gabriel Heinze, has won three league titles since joining from Defensa y Justicia in 2019.
Although Lisandro is not the tallest central defender at just 1.67m, he can read the game well, is good in one-on-one situations and is a skilled passer. A fan favorite in Amsterdam, he can play at centre-back, left-back and defensive midfield, where former United defender Jaap Stam believes he could excel.
“What’s important is that a defender is smart,” Stam said. “Lisandro Martinez developed that. In England there are many fast attackers who are merciless on counterattacks.
Ajax have drawn attention to Rangers defender Calvin Bassey as a possible replacement
“So the important thing is that a defender is smart and smart. But since Martinez is sure of the ball, he can also play in front of the defence. And I don’t rule out that Ten Hag will use him there.”
United have six senior defenders on their books and hope to sell up to three, with Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly being the most likely.
Bailly has interest from Napoli but impressed in Tuesday’s friendly against Liverpool and has indicated he wants to fight for his place.
The 28-year-old has wanted to leave in recent seasons as he believed he was never given a fair chance despite untimely injuries hampering his progress.
United flew 19-year-old Will Fish to Melbourne for the second leg of the tour to provide cover in the middle as Tuanzebe has returned home and full-back Alex Telles has been forced to play in central defense against Liverpool.
Former United defender Jaap Stam believes Martinez could excel in midfield