Premier League • England

Man Utd flagging in Lisandro Martinez race, as Arsenal ‘hopeful’ Ajax will accept sizeable new bid

Lisandro Martinez, Anier Henri Argentina v Estonia June 2022

Arsenal hope Ajax will accept their latest offer of £35million for Manchester United centre-back target Lisandro Martinez, according to a report.

The Gunners have made a strong start to the summer transfer window, with their third arrival confirmed on Monday. Goalkeeper Matt Turner has arrived from the MLS.

He has followed exciting Brazilian winger Marquinhos and midfielder Fabio Vieira through the door. Another Brazilian, Gabriel Jesus, will soon be on his way to Arsenal too – from Manchester City.

But in the pursuit of Champions League football, Arsenal do not want to stop here.

Having signed Ben White to their defence for £50million last summer, they want Martinez in as another marquee centre-back signing.

Arsenal reportedly made a first bid of around £25million. And the Daily Mirror now reports that they have increased that offer to £35million, with add-ons included.

The newspaper adds that Arsenal are ‘hopeful’ Ajax will accept the bid for Argentina international Martinez.

However, transfer journalist Fabrizio Romano has cemented previous reports that Ajax are holding out for €50million (£43million).

Man Utd watching Arsenal, Lisandro Martinez progress

Man Utd are closely monitoring Arsenal’s talks with Ajax over Martinez, as the Red Devils want him too.

The Mirror notes that new United boss Erik ten Hag initially made Martinez’s team-mate Jurrien Timber his top target.

However, after advice from Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal about his game time leading into the World Cup, Dutchman Timber has decided to stay in Amsterdam.

In the meantime, Arsenal have got to work on a deal for Martinez, who was United’s alternative target.

With Ajax holding out for £43million, Man Utd could still have an opportunity to nip in and beat Arsenal to the 24-year-old.

Indeed, Dutch football expert Marcel van der Kraan has reported on the Man Utd front – amid their interest in £68million-rated Antony – that Ajax are “financially OK”. They therefore have no reason to buckle on their demands and can instead seek maximum profit.

Nevertheless, the Daily Mirror claims that the fact that Arsenal have made two bids has them ahead in the race for Martinez.

And Fabrizio Romano adds in his report of the Arsenal bid for Martinez that Ajax that will not sell both him and Timber in the same window.

Arsenal, Man Utd vie for exciting talent

Erik ten Hag and Lisandro Martinez at Ajax

Martinez only moved to Ajax in 2019 but has risen to become a top talent for the Eredivisie giants.

He has played 118 times for the Amsterdam club, including 19 times in the Champions League.

For clubs looking to get back in Europe’s premier competition, he would therefore be an ideal signing.

Ajax defender in high demand

Ajax centre back Lisandro Martinez is being targeted by both Arsenal and Manchester United as the two clubs look set to battle it out for the highly rated player’s signature.

And given the parallels between Martinez and his Argentina compatriot Cristian Romero, Martinez could be another exciting Argentine star coming to the Premier League.

Romero, who is three months younger than Martinez, moved to Tottenham last summer. He instantly impressed Antonio Conte and has signed a long-term deal with Spurs.

Arsenal and Man Utd will be hoping Martinez can have a similar impact if he makes a move to England.