Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Barcelona Identify Eredivisie Defender As A Potential Target: What Will He Add To The Side?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

In a recent report, Diario SPORT has claimed that Barcelona have identified Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez as a potential January target and could move in for him if they miss out on Manchester City’s Eric Garcia this winter. It is understood that the Argentine centre-back fits Barca’s profile, so Ronald Koeman is willing to make a loan offer in January with the option to buy him permanently at the end of this campaign (Diario SPORT).

Martinez’s Incredible Form At Amsterdam This Season

The 22-year-old has established himself as a regular feature in Erik ten Hag’s first-team this season by producing a series of dominant displays at the centre of the Ajax backline. He has participated in 14 matches for the Dutch outfit this term, registering two goals and one yellow card in the process across all competitions.

Martinez has been consistent with his defensive contributions as he is averaging 1.1 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 1.9 clearances, 1.1 shots and 1.1 dribbles per game in the Dutch Eredivisie and the UEFA Champions League group stages this season. He has even distributed the ball with a lot of conviction out from the back as evidenced by his pass completion rate of 85.9% in both those competitions (stats via whoscored).

It seems like Martinez’s excellent form has not gone unnoticed as Barca are eyeing a January move to secure his signature. A move to the Nou Camp might be too appealing for the player to turn down, so Koeman would be wise to launch a move to lure him to Catalonia during this winter transfer period.

 Barcelona identify Lisandro Martinez as a potential January target (Lisandro Martinez is seen in the photo)
Ajax’s Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez (R) vies for the ball with Liverpool’s Japanese forward Takumi Minamino during the UEFA Champions League Group D first-leg football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Liverpool FC at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on October 21, 2020. (Photo by KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Argentine Youngster Add To Ronald Koeman’s Side?

Martinez boasts decent pace and is not shy of working his socks off for the benefit of his team. Despite his small 1.78m frame, he can outjump most strikers using his great leaping ability and hunger to win the ball in the air.

The Argentine sensation is also a decent tackler and can pull off some crucial interceptions for his side. Plus, he is a good ball-playing centre-half who can be an aerial threat at the other end from his team’s dead-ball situations.

At the moment, Martinez is playing some of the best football of his playing career and might be good enough to walk into the Barca first-team that has been struck with multiple injuries during this campaign so far. The Argentine prospect will add a lot of quality to Koeman’s defensive department and could serve as an ideal long-term successor to Gerard Pique at the Nou Camp.

Furthermore, the Gualeguay-born talent is primarily a centre-back but can also fill in as a left-back if needed. With all things considered, it makes sense for Barcelona to orchestrate a move to bring Martinez to Spain either on a loan deal or permanently when the transfer window reopens at the start of next year.

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