Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Erik ten Hag plots revolutionary Ajax raid with Lisandro Martinez spelling trouble for Man Utd mainstay

Erik ten Hag and Lisandro Martinez at Ajax

Incoming Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag is sizing up yet another Ajax transfer in the form of Lisandro Martinez, and his arrival could kickstart a new approach to defending at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag has already been linked with plundering former club Ajax for multiple players this summer. Centre-back Jurrien Timber has been mentioned and today’s Euro Paper Talk suggested an agreement over personal terms with the 20-year-old has been struck.

Elsewhere, a move for Brazilian firebrand Antony could be on the cards. A report recently detailed why they have the edge over Liverpool in that particular transfer race.

But according to the Telegraph, Ten Hag is now sizing up a new Ajax star – Lisandro Martinez.

Like Timber, Martinez is also a centre-back and revamping United’s leaky defence appears to be a priority.

Martinez is more experienced than Timber being 24. What’s more, the report indicated he could be the key to a whole new approach to defending at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag’s backline in Amsterdam was built around speed and the ability of his defenders to win their duels one-v-one. The system also required those selected to be competent on the ball and be able – and willing – to pass their way out from the back.

Argentine Martinez was the greatest exponent of that under Ten Hag at Ajax. His arrival could kickstart that style of defending at Manchester United.

Transfer cost cited

Any move is slated to cost around the €30m (£25.4m) mark. That could represent excellent value for a player who has another three years on his Ajax contract.

United’s interest in fellow centre-back Timber is noted, though Martinez may be able to deliver immediate results from day one.

Ten Hag is stated to be prioritising a ‘quick’ option to bolster his defensive ranks. For all the qualities Harry Maguire possesses, pace isn’t one of them.

As such, should Martinez be signed, it stands to reason he would take Maguire’s place at the heart of defence and partner Raphael Varane.

Lisandro Martinez raid makes perfect sense

A move for the Argentina international would appear to make perfect sense on several levels.

Firstly, at 24, he is only now entering his prime years as a centre-half. Furthermore, he is more than familiar with Ten Hag and would therefore aid the transition into the new style of defending far quicker than most.

At around £25.4m, he also wouldn’t break the bank. Value for money in that regard cannot be overlooked, especially given other areas of the squad also need to be addressed.

Indeed, the Telegraph added two central midfielders are on the agenda, along with a new striker.