There is a confidence that Manchester United will be able to win the race to sign Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, according to one reporter.
Martinez is one of several Ajax players being tipped to follow manager Erik ten Hag to Manchester United this summer. It is unlikely the new boss’ former club will let him take too many of his former pupils, but the defender is one who could make the move.
Manchester United are in the market for a new defender this summer. Although Ten Hag has confirmed that Harry Maguire remains captain, doubts linger over his form.
What’s more, fringe players like Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones may struggle to find a place in Ten Hag’s plans. Therefore, there may be a need for someone more reliable to compete with Maguire, Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof.
In that regard, Ten Hag has been looking at his ex-Ajax colleague Martinez, who can play as a centre-back, left-back or defensive midfielder.
However, there have been a couple of problems in their pursuit. First, they have been aware of competition from Arsenal. Next, it emerged on Monday that Ajax may have raised their asking price for the 24-year-old.
It was claimed that Ajax have upped their valuation of Martinez to €60million (£50.7m). In turn, that could frustrate any hopes the defender has of moving to Manchester.
But all might not be lost for Man Utd after all. According to Fabrizio Romano, the Red Devils are gaining confidence, since Ajax are willing to discuss the price tag.
Romano tweeted on Tuesday morning: “Manchester United are now feeling confident on Lisandro Martinez deal.
“Ajax are open to discuss on the fee, new contacts expected very soon after bid rejected last week.
“Lisandro, pushing again with Ajax to leave the club this summer.”
Martinez is under contract until 2025 with Ajax, for whom he has played 120 times since joining in 2019. Last season, he played 37 times in all competitions, all as a centre-half.
Lisandro Martinez next piece of Ten Hag puzzle
His status as a left-footer makes him an appealing proposition for Man Utd. The Premier League club do not have anyone else in his position who favours that side at present.
United favourites to sign Martinez
Arsenal and Manchester United are battling it out to sign highly rated Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez; his relationship with Erik Ten Hag could be a determining factor.
Hence, in theory he would bring more balance to the spine of their team. Furthermore, his existing relationship with Ten Hag – who gave him all of his Ajax appearances to date – could help any transition he has to make.
And if there is room to manoeuvre with the fee after all, a deal could be within reach for United.
Should they be able to acquire Martinez – after already adding left-back Tyrell Malacia – United would have made another important move before the start of the new season.
Other areas of need would remain, though. Next, they ought to turn their focus to finalising a midfield signing.