Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Man Utd at risk of damaging raid for Ten Hag favourite as Cristiano Ronaldo praise gets Real Madrid excited

Lisandro Martinez and Antony Man Utd

Manchester United could lose one of Erik ten Hag’s most important players in the future after a report detailed Real Madrid’s interest in snapping him up.

Real have history when it comes to signing top stars from Man Utd. They poached David Beckham in summer 2003 by spending £24.5million on the right midfielder. Three years later, Real were at it again as they signed Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy from the Red Devils.

Arguably the most famous transfer involving both Man Utd and Real is Cristiano Ronaldo’s switch to Madrid in 2009. The Spanish giants made him the world’s most expensive player at the time by paying Man Utd £80m.

Man Utd have got some revenge in recent years. In August last year, the captured French centre-half Raphael Varane from Real. And this summer, they brought in his former Los Blancos team-mate Casemiro in a deal which could rise to £70m.

Varane has struggled with injuries during his time at Old Trafford. However, when he is fit, he looks solid in defence and helps to make those around him better.

Casemiro, meanwhile, had a slow start as Ten Hag refused to start him at first. The manager said Casemiro had to adapt to the English game and his tactical methods.

Casemiro soon forced his way into the starting eleven though, and he’s taken Man Utd’s midfield to the next level since.

Unfortunately for Ten Hag, Man Utd are at risk of losing one of their key players to Real. According to Spanish outlet Defensa Central, centre-half Lisandro Martinez is ‘in Real’s crosshairs’.

Real Madrid plot Man Utd swoop

It seems Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is keeping track of Martinez’s performances for both Man Utd and Argentina. The 24-year-old came off the bench in Argentina’s World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia, which ended in a shock 2-1 defeat. Due to the poor performance, Martinez will be hoping to start when Argentina play Mexico on Saturday.

Real are apparently monitoring how Martinez copes with Man Utd’s biggest games, as well as the pressure of playing at the World Cup. They want to see whether he would have the mentality to shine for them in La Liga and in the Champions League.

One reason why Real may be eyeing up Martinez is Ronaldo’s praise of him. During his big recent interview, the striker was asked which Man Utd players act as professionals. He said most of the younger players don’t have good mentalities, but did give positive mentions to Diogo Dalot, Martinez and Casemiro.

Ronaldo said: “In Manchester United I can mention Dalot, he’s young, but very professional but I don’t doubt that he’s going to have longevity in football because he’s young, he’s smart, intelligent and he’s very professional. Probably Martinez, Casemiro is in his 30s, but I will say Dalot.”

Perhaps these comments let Real know that Martinez could be a great signing for them, as Ronaldo clearly respects him.

Real launching a major bid to snare the defender would be a huge blow for Man Utd. Given how successful Real are, Martinez would probably consider joining them.

However, there are a couple of reasons why the former Ajax man would probably reject Real if they came calling next year.

The first is that Martinez has only just gone to Man Utd. And with his contract lasting until 2027, he is unlikely to push for an exit any time soon.

Another factor to consider is Ten Hag’s good relationship with the star. They worked together at Ajax and Ten Hag played a vital role in convincing Martinez to join Man Utd. Therefore, the manager may also be able to sway Martinez when it comes to Real’s interest.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Transfer Gossip claims Man Utd will be able to land a World Cup forward after he told his agent to find him a new club.