Edwin van der Sar has heaped praise on Manchester United’s summer acquisitions from Ajax.
Lisandro Martinez and Antony were signed by the Red Devils from Erik ten Hag’s former club as they sought to revive the squad.
The pair have become key players at Old Trafford and have already gone some way towards repaying the faith placed in them.
And for Van der Sar the pair’s talents are clear, despite initial concerns over Martinez’s height, with the former goalkeeper telling The Athletic, “He has shown his worth now.
“There were question marks initially, but the way he can read the game, how aggressive he is — what he doesn’t have in centimetres he makes up for in other qualities.”
Having fast become a fan favourite in Manchester, Lisandro has certainly lived up to those words.
United paid around €57m for the Argentine and look to be reaping the rewards for beating Arsenal to his signature.
According to Van der Sar, United were willing to go beyond the North London club’s offer and were greeted warmly due to the good relationship between the clubs:
“Arsenal came earlier for Lisandro, but it was an amount where we said, ‘Thank you very much for the offer, but we’d rather keep the player than start negotiating’. With United, it was a little bit different. Over the years we have had a few conversations: Daley Blind, Donny van de Beek.”
United had to go much higher to sign Antony, however, with a whopping €95m needed to secure the Brazilian’s signature.
“Still young, still potential,” said Van der Sar on the winger. “We would have liked to keep him here one year longer — there was not a dire need to sell him, we had money in the bank — but the fee got so high.
“We challenged United to go as far as possible. They have a potential world star.”
The Red Devils have seen flashes of brilliance from Antony and, along with some glorious strikes from the winger, his pressing intensity and playmaking ability from the wing have endeared him to fans eager to see the 22-year-old reach his full potential at the club.
Van der Sar also has a few words to say on the links between himself and Manchester United. The chief executive has been mooted with a role at Old Trafford for some years, but he insists that he is – for now – happy at Ajax.
“I’ve been here 10 years, I enjoy my life here, I live right on the beach, half an hour from here. It’s work, it’s hard, but it’s rewarding.
“We will see what happens in the future.”