Manchester United FINALLY reach an agreement with Ajax over the structure of £46m deal to sign Lisandro Martinez… with the defender set to link up with former boss Erik ten Hag and his new team-mates in Australia
- Lisandro Martinez missed Ajax training as Man United ironed out deal structure
- He made it clear to Ajax he wanted to fulfil dream of moving to Premier League
- Ajax were initially reluctant to sell the player who was club’s player of the year
- Martinez intervened when it became clear United were serious in their pursuit
Manchester United have reached agreement with Ajax for defender Lisandro Martinez.
The Argentine missed training on Thursday as the clubs ironed out the structure of payments on the £46million 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 fulfil his dream of moving to the Premier League this summer and will reunite with his former boss Erik ten Hag with whom he has a strong bond.
Manchester United have reached agreement with Ajax for defender Lisandro Martinez
The Argentine is now ready to link up with Erik ten Hag and his new team mates in Australia
United director of football John Murtough and chief executive Richard Arnold held extensive talks with Ajax counterparts 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 a deal is now in place.
Lisandro’s determination to make the move happen was key with Ajax initially reluctant to sell the 24-year-old who was the club’s player of the year last season.
They rebuffed offers from Arsenal and United at first but Lisandro intervened when it became clear United were serious in their pursuit and the player received assurances from Ten Hag.
Ajax, meanwhile, have switched attention to Rangers defender Calvin Bassey as a potential replacement for Martinez.
The 24-year-old will reunite with his former boss ten Hag with whom he has a strong bond
Ajax had enquired about Mykola Matvienko of Shakhtar but have made an offer for Bassey. Brighton have also made a move for the 22-year-old Nigeria international who impressed during Rangers’ Europa League campaign and is valued at £25m.
Lisandro, whose idol is former United defender Gabriel Heinze, has won three league titles since joining in 2019 from Defensa y Justicia.
Though not the tallest centre-back at just 5ft 9ins, Lisandro reads the game well, is good in one-on-one situations and an astute passer of the ball. A fans’ favourite in Amsterdam, he can play at centre-back, left-back and holding midfield where former United defender Jaap Stam believes he could excel.
‘What’s important is that a defender has cleverness,’ said Stam. ‘Lisandro Martinez has developed that. In England, there are a lot of fast attackers who are merciless in counters.
Ajax have switched attention to Rangers defender Calvin Bassey as a potential replacement
‘So what is important is that a defender is smart and clever. But because Martinez is comfortable on 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 the most likely.
Bailly has interest from Napoli but was impressive against Liverpool in Tuesday’s friendly 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 though untimely injuries hindered his progress.
United flew 19-year-old Will Fish to Melbourne for the second leg of the tour to provide cover at centre-half as Tuanzebe has returned home and full-back Alex Telles was forced to play in central defence against Liverpool.
Former United defender Jaap Stam believes Martinez could excel in holding midfield