Erik ten Hag, the new manager of Manchester United, vetoed the club’s recruitment department in the summer signing of a new center defense.
United had designated Villarreal defender Pau Torres as their main defensive target this summer, with the transaction claimed to be ‘talked and negotiated with the player’s representation, who were planning to go to England to finalize the deal.
Ten Hag, though, put a halt to the deal by urging that United instead buy versatile defender Lisandro Martinez from Ajax. After missing out on a deal to sign his teammate Jurrien Timber, United identified him as a prospective target. Arsenal is also interested in Martinez, but they are unlikely to be able to give the same incentives for the versatile center defender.
Ten Hag has used his personal friendship with Martinez to persuade him to join United this summer, prioritizing a move to United over sticking with Ajax or joining the Gunners. Martinez has already told Ajax of his desire to quit the Amsterdam giants this summer and join Manchester United.
Despite the impressive chemistry created by Ben White and Gabriel last season, the Gunners initially made a move for Martinez last month. According to De Telegraaf, Arsenal told Ajax that they were willing to offer £25.8 million (€30 million) for the defender but backed down after learning that the player would not be sold.
That is when United declared their interest in the defender, and they have been informed that Ajax will sell the player if the proper offer comes in. According to The Times, United has made an offer of around £42 million (€50 million) to recruit the player.
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’s first-choice central defenders are Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, and Victor Lindelof, although it is expected that the club may listen to offers for Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, and Axel Tuanzebe this summer as they try to trim down their roster even further.
United have only made one transfer this summer, signing full-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord, but they do have a primary deal in place to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong after an initial transfer fee of £56.2 million was agreed with Barcelona, and Christian Eriksen has a verbal agreement to join on a three-year deal.