Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is understood to be working on three concrete targets ahead of the return to pre-season training next week.
Ten Hag will have some of his squad back at Carrington next Monday as he starts the build-up to the 2022/23 season. Manchester United’s international contingent will have longer off as United start preparing for their first pre-season match against Liverpool in Bangkok on July 12.
And the Dutchman is keen to get the majority of his new additions through the door before then.
Ten Hag, 52, wants Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and free-agent Christian Eriksen to remodel a midfield which struggled last season.
According to De Telegraaf, the former Ajax boss has told the club that De Jong is “crucial” for developing a new style of play.
Eriksen is available for free after his Brentford contract expired. And he is also seen an integral as Ten Hag tries to employ a possession-based approach.
But while those two ball players are vital to Ten Hag’s philosophy, he is also wary of his defensive line.
The fact that he pursued Jurrien Timber is proof that Ten Hag has persuaded United officials that he needs a new centre-back.
Timber is understood to have turned down United over his concern about first=-team football. An intervention from Louis van Gaal has tipped the scales away from United.
Now though Ten Hag is understood to be targeting Lisandro Martinez – a team-mate of Timber’s at Ajax.
After the rejection of Timber, United have moved on to Argentine centre-back Martinez, who is also being wanted by Arsenal.
According to De Telegraf’s Mike Verweij, via Metro, United are readying an offer for the 24-year-old Martinez.
‘Excellent’ Lisandro Martinez
Martinez, who has been described as “excellent” by Ten Hag, made 37 appearances for Ajax last season. He is under contract until 2025.
Ten Hag is well aware of Martinez’s abilities having coached him for the last three years.
His style of play fits the bill. And the fact that he can also play in a defensive midfield role and at left-back makes him an attractive proposition.
Mikel Arteta has not lodged a bid for the left-footed centre-back. But Arsenal officials are said to have made it clear they are willing to pay around €30m for the player.
The Eredivisie champions are not looking to sell Martinez. However, an offer that is too good to turn down could see United and Ten Hag be reunited.