MANCHESTER UNITED is allegedly close to landing a summer signing.
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has previously hinted that if Lisandro Martinez joins the Red Devils ahead of next season, he could push him into a more advanced role. After weeks of prolonged club-level negotiations between United and Ajax, the 24-year-old is finally believed to be closing in on a summer move to Old Trafford.
The Dutch giants are said to be eager to sell Martinez to United if their demands are met, with talks reaching an advanced level over the weekend. Further talks took place at a meeting on Wednesday as United came closer to a deal with Ajax, who are thought to be content with losing their player in exchange for a cost of roughly £46 million.
Martinez is mostly employed as a central defender, but Ten Hag played him in the middle of the park on occasion during his tenure as Ajax manager. The 52-year-old acknowledged in 2019 that he liked what he saw from Martinez in terms of his performance in the club’s midfield system, implying that he could be set to return to the engine room at United.
“At the start of the season, we were seeking for a brain for a center midfield,” Ten Hag explained. “We knew Martinez had played central midfield in the past, but could he do so in Ajax’s system?” We tried him there and noticed positive results.”
Martinez is also capable of playing left-back, and his versatility is likely to come in handy at United if they are able to sign him in the coming weeks and months. The club is looking for a central midfielder to replace Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic ahead of next season and has been frustrated in talks with Barcelona over a transfer for Frenkie de Jong, who is currently ten Hag’s main target.
It remains to be seen whether Martinez would be a viable alternative to De Jong if United were to pull out of a deal for the latter in the near future. Martinez made 37 appearances for Ajax in all competitions last season, most of which he played at center-back, but he would undoubtedly be able to transition into midfield if Ten Hag wanted him to do so at Old Trafford next season.
The Ajax defender recently stated that he is pleased with how he has progressed under Ten Hag, whom he credits with assisting him in becoming a regular for Argentina at the international level in recent years.
“I am extremely proud of what I have accomplished at Ajax and under Ten Hag,” Martinez remarked. “Thanks to my development at Ajax, I improved as a player and became an Argentine international.”
“I even got to wear my country’s captaincy armband.” That was the day my father cried; it was a very emotional day for him. My mother grieved, as did my aunts, aunties, cousins, and everyone else.”