According to reports, Manchester United recently submitted an improved bid of £43million to Ajax for Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez, with Erik ten Hag keen on a reunion at Old Trafford with his defensive ‘butcher.’ The bid by United is said to be close to Ajax’s valuation of the 24-year-old, with the Dutch club’s senior figures giving consideration to United’s interest.
The bid by United is said to be better than Arsenal’s, who are also interested in taking Martinez to the Emirates, with the North London club’s manager Mikel Arteta keen on the player as a defensive reinforcement.
In an interview with news outlet AD, former Manchester United center-back Jaap Stam backed Martinez to succeed in Manchester and quickly adapt to the highly intensive and demanding Premier League.
Stam, who represented the Red Devils between 1998 and 2001, claimed to have become a ‘fan’ of the Ajax defender who he sees great quality in. The former Dutch centre back, in his interview, said, “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.”
On Martinez’s reported price tag, the former Red Devil refused to disclose whether the Ajax star is worth €50m, saying, “that is difficult to say”.
This is high praise for any defender looking to make a transition to the Premier League and especially to Manchester United, where other big hitters have failed to live up to the pressure and expectations of England’s biggest football club.
Stam, who had a trophy-laden stint during his short spell at United, winning three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, and the UEFA Champions League, also talked about United’s new signing, Tyrell Malacia.
On his Dutch countryman, Stam compared him to Martinez, describing both as reasonably fast and not afraid to cover space in the back. These qualities would enable both players to fit right into an Erik ten Hag system seamlessly, becoming vital cogs in the new manager’s machine.
Stam also provided further insight into new Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag, his philosophy, style of play, and how he could successfully translate this to the pitch for Manchester United. Stam suggested in his interview that Ten Hag aims to do this through incomings and new arrivals. He also said, “You can clearly see that Ten Hag’s approach is to dominate matches and control the opponent’s half.”
Speaking further on United’s potential signing of Martinez and the quality he possesses, the former Manchester United defender described him as “very skilled and creative in his passing.” The 24-year-old Argentine’s anticipation also came to the fore during the interview, with Stam praising the player’s ability to not get into duels and become exposed to attackers in the Premier League.
Stam failed to rule out the possibility of Martinez being deployed as a central defensive midfielder by his former coach due to his excellent passing and comfort on the ball. One of the Ajax player’s most valuable attributes is his versatility. Martinez can play as a left-back, defensive midfielder, and in his more natural center-back position.
Certainly, Manchester United fans have much to look forward to with Martinez and what he could bring to the Theatre of Dreams. Commendations rarely come much higher than the legendary Stam, who was widely considered one of the best in his position during his playing days.
United Matchday Magazine – The Online Football Programme
United vs. Liverpool. There’s no such thing as a friendly. Ten Hag’s first match. Players desperate to impress. Revenge needed, pride must be restored.
Part programme, part fanzine, United Matchday Magazine brings you the build up to the game. It is online football content like you’ve never seen before. Original features written by top writers, Intelligent reporting of the latest transfer stories and hand-picked news, videos and social media along with opinion, quizzes and humour. Click for a sneak peek or to get yours for just £1.25/$1.50.