Erik ten Hag, the new manager of Manchester United, vetoed the club’s recruitment department’s recommendation on a new defender in order to sign former Ajax star Lisandro Martinez.
Manchester United have revealed that Lisandro Martinez has agreed to join them as their third signing of the summer transfer season after striking an agreement with Ajax.
The 24-year-old has signed terms on a five-year contract at Old Trafford, with an initial cost of £46.8 million going to Ajax and an additional £8.5 million due to come in add-ons, taking the total to £55.3 million. Martinez joins Feyenoord after signing Tyrell Malacia for £14.1 million and Christian Eriksen as a free agent after leaving Brentford.
Martinez’s arrival secures one of new United manager Erik ten Hag’s primary objectives for the summer window, and it is also a crucial one, as it indicates how the club backed their new coach ahead of their own recruitment department on the deal.
Pau Torres, a Villarreal defender and Spain international, had been regarded as a significant summer transfer target for United. Indeed, the player’s agents were planning to travel to England to finalize the transfer, such as the promise of the transaction and the trust on all sides that a deal could be reached.
This followed a ‘discussion and negotiation’ between the player’s representation and United. There was an understanding that the club wanted to get Torres, the defender was open to the move, and Villarreal was willing to sell at a set price after missing out on Champions League football.
Indeed, the deal would have been quite simple for such a high-profile move – the trade had been discussed 12 months ago when Torres was high on United’s wishlist, but the club eventually purchased Raphael Varane from Real Madrid. This summer, all parties were aware that the relocation might ultimately take place.
Ten Hag, though, blocked that move and has instead used his personal friendship with Martinez to persuade him to join United this summer rather than Arsenal, who had made a move for Martinez early in the transfer window.
Martinez played three seasons for Ten Hag after joining the Dutch club for €7 million from Defensa y Justicia in Argentina. The new United manager feels he can replicate his success in the Premier League. Ten Hag made it a priority to sign the player after failing to sign his Ajax defensive partner Jurrien Timber this summer.
Martinez, who is predominantly a left-sided central defender but can also play holding midfield or left-back, will battle for a starting spot with Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof. To continue revitalizing its team, the club is expected to listen to bids for Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Axel Tuanzebe this summer.