Manchester United are expected to make a formal approach for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez in the next 24 or 48 hours, according to reputed journalist Marcel van der Kraan.
The Red Devils have yet to make a signing this summer, but they are reportedly close to securing deals for Frenkie de Jong and Tyrell Malacia from Barcelona and Feyenoord respectively.
Their next priority could be to sign a new central defender, and speaking to De Telegraaf, Van der Kraan has revealed that Martinez is ‘very high’ on the wishlist of United manager Erik ten Hag.
The Dutch journalist added that he expects ‘big developments’ over the next 24 or 48 hours and Martinez will also have his hopes pinned on the Red Devils, who are an absolute top club for him.
He said: “Martinez is very high on Erik ten Hag’s wishlist, so I expect big developments in the 24 or 48 hours. Martinez will also have his hopes pinned on United, who are an absolute top club for him.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal are also interested in signing Martinez, and it was recently reported by De Telegraaf that they have made a second offer of around €40m to sign the Argentina international.
The proposal remains short of Ajax’s €45-50m price tag, but Van der Kraan believes that would benefit the Dutch outfit, who are hoping for a bidding battle such that their asking price is met.
He added: “Ajax will really cash out for Martinez and go to €45-50m, but that is the advantage if two clubs bid, as we saw with Lyon and Manchester United, then it suddenly goes higher.”
Martinez built a superb working relationship with Ten Hag at Ajax. His best campaign came last season where he was named the club’s Player of the Year for his consistent displays from central defence.
The 24-year-old managed an impressive 2.8 clearances, two tackles and 1.9 interceptions per league game. He was also superb with his aerial challenges, winning at least three duels on average.
On top of his defensive contributions, Martinez also excelled with his distribution from the back. The Argentine was able to complete nearly 89 per cent of his passes over the entire campaign.
If he were to join United, he would be perfectly suited for Ten Hag’s system, having worked under him for three years. Arsenal are also keen on landing his services, but they view him as a left-back.
While Ten Hag’s presence alone could lure Martinez to Old Trafford, the Argentine could also be tempted to join United, knowing that the Dutchman would play him in his preferred centre-back role.
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and WhoScored.com