With a deal for Jurriën Timber now looking unlikely, Manchester United have now reportedly turned their attention to his Ajax teammate Lisandro Martinez.
Date of Birth: 18/01/1998 (24)
Strong Foot: Left
Height: 1.75 m (5ft 9in)
Who is Lisandro Martinez?Embed from Getty Images
Lisandro Martinez is an Argentinian centre-back currently plying his trade at Dutch giants Ajax. The 24-year-old left Argentina in July 2019 to join Ajax. Martinez has been a revelation at Ajax under Erik ten Hag playing a crucial part in the club’s recent success.
After winning Ajax player of the season, it now looks possible that Martinez could leave Ajax this summer with the Argentine having been linked to numerous clubs, mainly Manchester United and Arsenal.
According to David Ornstein, Arsenal made a €30m bid for Martinez, however, the offer was rejected by Ajax. It’s now been reported that United are now preparing an offer for Martinez after missing out on Timber. However, it is possible that Arsenal could return with a stronger offer.
StrengthsEmbed from Getty Images
Like many of the centre-backs linked to United this summer, Lisandro Martinez is a confident ball player. Ball playing is a cornerstone trait for any centre-back wanting to succeed under Ten Hag. The Argentine had a pass completion rate of almost 90% in the Eredivisie last season. He also completed 5.4 long balls per game which displays a decent passing range.
He’s very good at progressing the ball from the back. He’s averaged nearly eight progressive carries per 90 in the last year, as well as 6.13 progressive passes per 90, ranking him amongst the best in his position regarding ball progression.
In addition to his fantastic ability on the ball, Martinez is a very good tackler. His decision-making as well as ability to read the game is also very impressive. The Argentinian also won 68% of his ground duels in the Eredivisie last season.
Martinez also contributes going forward, picking up four assists in all competitions last season having also created eight big chances in the Eredivisie and Champions League combined which is extremely impressive for a centre-back.
Another one of Martinez’s strengths is his ability to perform in multiple positions. While he has established himself as one of the best centre-backs in the Eredivisie, he can also fill in as a defensive midfielder and he’s also made a few appearances at left-back during his time at Ajax.
WeaknessesEmbed from Getty Images
They’re genuinely not many noticeable weaknesses to Martinez’s game. The only area that you could potentially question about his game is aerially but as he’s only 5’’9, it’s not surprising that he struggles in the air.
However, as he’d play alongside either Raphael Varane or Harry Maguire at United, that weakness would not be such a big issue as the pair are very good in the air.
Where would Martinez fit in at United?Embed from Getty Images
If United sign a centre-back this summer, they’d most likely not be a guaranteed starter from the beginning as United’s first-choice centre-back pairing will most likely be Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane.
However, this doesn’t mean Martinez couldn’t force his way into the team. Varane has had many injury issues over the last year and it’s still uncertain how Maguire will come back next season after a disastrous 2021/22 campaign.
As Martinez is left-footed, should he join United, he’d play on the left-hand-side of a centre-back pairing alongside either Maguire or Varane.
VerdictEmbed from Getty Images
While Timber would’ve been the ideal signing, Martinez isn’t a bad alternative to the Dutchman. He’s done very well so far at Ajax and this summer could be the right time to make a move. United have also been linked to the likes of Pau Torres and David Carmo.
With Eric Bailly and Axel Tuanzebe likely to leave the club this summer, a new centre-back will be needed and Martinez would be a good option. In regards to the fee, as Ajax did reject a €30m proposal for the Argentine, they’d probably want at least €40 million to let go of their player of the year.