Manchester United up their Lisandro Martinez bid to £43m to beat Arsenal to his signing, with Ajax considering the offer close to their valuation as Erik ten Hag eyes reunion with his defensive ‘butcher’
- Man United have submitted an improved £43m offer for Lisandro Martinez
- Erik ten Hag is hoping to tempt his old side Ajax by reaching their asking price
- Defender Martinez wants to leave amid interest from both United and Arsenal
Manchester United have made an improved £43million offer for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez in a bid to beat Arsenal to his signature.
The new offer is £5m more than their last proposal and is close to Ajax’s valuation.
The Ajax board will consider the offer today mindful the 24-year-old has already asked to be allowed to make his dream move to the Premier League.
Ajax had already been bracing for new bids after United and Arsenal both offered around £38.5m for the Argentine – though the Eredivisie club were holding out for more after Martinez’s brilliant season.
Manchester United and Erik ten Hag (L) are hopeful of landing Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez (R) after launching a £43million bid
He started 23 times in the league under Ten Hag to help them win the title and played 37 games overall – scoring once and even providing three assists.
Last week, Ajax directors Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Gerry Hamstra were in London to discuss the original deal with United – who matched Arsenal’s £38m bid but offered a structure that guaranteed them more cash.
But now United have caved in to Ajax’s demands and stumped up more cash as they look to wrap up the deal and convince him to move to Old Trafford rather than the Emirates as they prepare to embark on a pre-season tour to Korea.
Martinez – affectionately known by fans as ‘The Argentine Butcher’ due to his tenacity on the ball and in the air – has asked to leave the Eredivisie club and is keen to try his luck in the Premier League.
Ten Hag knows Martinez well after working with him in the last three seasons at Ajax
LISANDRO MARTINEZ – ‘THE ARGENTINE BUTCHER’
Born in the Argentinian city of Gualeguay, Martinez began playing for Newell’s Old Boys, the iconic side where Lionel Messi shot to fame.
He grew up idolising his countryman Gabriel Heinze – who played for Manchester United, the club who are chasing his signature.
Martinez started grabbing the attention of clubs around Europe due to his confidence and ability as a left-sided ball-playing central defender.
Ajax quickly began to perk their heads up after he began to impress for new club Defensa y Justicia.
During three years at the club, he has forged a reputation for his fearsome displays and tenacity to win the ball in the air and on the ground, earning the nickname ‘The Argentine Butcher’.
‘In Argentina I never hear that nickname,’ he admitted last year when quizzed about the alias given to him. ‘But I know that the fans here call me that. I like that and see it as a compliment.
‘I never give up and always go into battle full of struggle. That’s how I am.’
While respectful of what Ajax have done for him, he does not wish to let the opportunity of a move to the Premier League pass and staying in Amsterdam next season is not an option for him.
He has told the club that reaching an agreement soon, with either United or Arsenal, will be the most beneficial solution for all parties.
Arsenal have had two offers rejected with their last, coming in at £34m plus add-ons up to £38m.
United countered with a £35.3m plus guaranteed add-ons to £38m but have the added pull of coach Erik ten Hag, who struck up a strong rapport with Lisandro during his tenure with the Dutch champions.
Martinez started his career in his native Argentina, playing at youth level for Newell’s Old Boys before joining Defensa y Justicia.
It was here where his quality started to shine as his performances brought interest from Europe – including Ajax – who snapped him up for just £6m in 2019.
Martinez is known as ‘The Argentine Butcher’ due to his tenacity in the tackle and in the air
Ten Hag has already made his first signing at United, bringing in Feyenoord’s Tyrell Malacia
Since joining the Dutch giants, he has won two Eredivisie titles and the Dutch Cup – with Ajax now in line to profit significantly on the player who came in to replace Mathijis de Ligt after his move to Juventus the same year.
He’s played a total of 120 games under the watchful eye of Ten Hag, who once hailed him as an ‘excellent’ defender who is versatile in being able to play in many positions across the backline, and also in midfield.
The Red Devils have already snapped up a player from the Dutch league – left-back Tyrell Malacia, who joined in a £13m deal from Feyenoord.
Ten Hag is also chasing another player from the Eredivisie and his former club Ajax – with forward Antony a target for his United revolution.
Sportsmail reported last week how Ten Hag rates the winger highly having worked with him for two seasons and he is eager to bring him to Old Trafford.
However, United feel that it will be difficult to do a deal as Ajax’s valuation of £70m is seen as too expensive.