Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Manchester United Add Two-Times Eredivisie Winner To Summer Wishlist: The Perfect Defensive Signing?

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Pratik Das
The youngest member of The 4th Official and an ardent Premier League fan who is basically obsessed with scouting young talents and is consumed by the idea of finding the perfect number 10.

Recent reports from Daily Telegraph (subscription needed) state that Manchester United are quite keen on signing Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez in the upcoming transfer window as Erik Ten Hag looks set to add to his options in defence.

Having played a crucial role in the Dutch manager’s title-winning campaign by keeping twenty-two clean sheets in 37 appearances across all competitions, the 24-year-old defender was recently crowned as Ajax’s player of the year. As a result, Ten Hag wishes to bring Martinez to the Theatre of Dreams for the massive rebuild job.

However, with his present contract at the Johan Cruijff ArenA running until 2025, Manchester United will have to splash at least €30 million to secure his services.

Barcelona are also keeping tabs on the Argentine defender.

Having come through the ranks at Argentine Primera Division club Newell, Lisandro Martinez signed for Ajax in the summer of 2019 for a fee in the region of £6.3 million. Over the course of the last four years at Amsterdam, he has made 119 appearances for the Dutch giants, keeping fifty-two clean sheets across all competitions. In other words, the two-times Eredivisie winner’s clean sheets ratio currently stands at 43.7%, which is quite impressive given that Ajax have also taken part in Europe’s toughest competitions in the past three seasons.

Ajax's Lisandro Martinez
Ajax’s Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez (C) runs with the ball during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between Willem II and Ajax at the Koning Willem II stadium in Tilburg, southern Netherlands, on February 19, 2022. – Netherlands OUT (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
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The six-times Argentina international has managed to put up some awe-inspiring numbers on the board this season – averaging two tackles, 1.9 interceptions, 2.8 clearances, 0.5 blocks, 1.6 shots, 0.7 key passes, and 5.4 long balls per ninety minutes in the Dutch top-flight (calculated across 24 appearances). Furthermore, with an average WhoScored rating of 7.60, he has been one of the best players on his side this term. Capable of playing as a left-back or a defensive midfielder in the hour of need, versatility is one of his prime strengths.

The Perfect Defensive Signing?

Given the present circumstances, signing a quality centre-back should be the board’s first priority once the summer transfer window opens. It’s beyond any doubt that the Red Devils certainly need to upgrade on their options in defence to try and solve their issues at the back – and Lisandro Martinez fits the bill perfectly.

A move to the Old Trafford will mean that he instantly competes with Harry Maguire or Victor Lindelof for a position in the starting eleven.

At 24, Martinez will only get better with each season, so it won’t be a complete surprise if United break the bank to secure his signature.

(Stats from WhoScored)

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