Man Utd ‘now feeling confident’ of beating Arsenal to top target despite rejected bid

·3-min read
Man Utd target Lisandro Martinez wins a header Credit: PA Images
Man Utd target Lisandro Martinez wins a header Credit: PA Images

Man Utd are increasingly confident they will beat Arsenal to the signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, according to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano.

The Argentina international, who made 37 appearances in all competitions, was one of Ajax’s most important players last season as they won the Eredivisie title.

Man Utd and Arsenal have reportedly been locked in a battle for his services with both clubs keen to improve their defence next season.

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Only seven clubs conceded more goals than the Red Devils last season with relegated Burnley letting in fewer.

It seems to be an area that Erik ten Hag is keen to address in the transfer window with his first summer signing, Tyrell Malacia, a left-back.

And now Romano claims that Man Utd are ‘now feeling confident’ that they can get a deal for Arsenal target Martinez over the line.

Romano adds that Dutch giants Ajax are ‘open to discuss on the fee, new contacts expected very soon after bid rejected last week’ with Martinez ‘pushing again with Ajax to leave the club this summer’.

One report yesterday insisted that Man Utd will have to increase their bid for Martinez from £42m to around £52m if they want to secure his signature this summer.

Former Man Utd defender Jaap Stam has endorsed a potential move for Martinez with the Argentine centre-back possessing “a winning mentality”.

“Whether Martinez is worth €50m, that is difficult to say. This kind of money has become normal. Especially in England,” Stam told Algemeen Dagblad.

“I have become a fan of his. I think he’s a fantastic guy, with a good temperament and a winning mentality. For trainers, those are great players to work with.”

Stam added: You can clearly see that Ten Hag’s approach is to dominate matches and control the opponent’s half. Then you play with a lot of space in the back and you need players who are reasonably fast and not afraid to cover. [Tyrell] Malacia has that and Martinez certainly.

“Back in the day, defenders in England couldn’t be big enough. Two metres was good, also to be able to head away a lot of balls. Now most clubs and coaches want to play football. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to defend.

“There are many fast attackers who are merciless on the counter. Therefore, what’s important is that a defender has cleverness. Quickly read where the ball goes, a little nudge or push. Then you don’t even have to get into duels. Martinez has also developed that.

“Martinez is very skilled and creative in his passing. The more he has such players, the more Ten Hag can keep the ball and the less he encounters counters.

“What is also important for this, certainly in the strongest competition in the world, is communication, and therefore who he will be linked to at the heart of the defence.

“And because Martinez is comfortable on the ball, he can also play as a defensive midfielder. I do not rule out the possibility that Ten Hag will use him there.”


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