Following the appointment of Erik ten Hag as the new Manchester United manager, reports are beginning to surface that claim the 52-year-old is planning on bringing a number of his current Ajax talents with him to Old Trafford this summer.
According to Metro, the Dutchman has identified 24-year-old centre-back Lisandro Martinez as one of his key targets in the upcoming summer transfer window.
Martinez is said to be amongst several players earmarked by the United coach, with Brazilian winger Antony also named as a potential target of the Manchester-bound manager.
There have been several reports linking Red Devils captain Harry Maguire with a move away from the club this summer, something that is not overly surprising considering his tumultuous campaign in 2022/23 – with the defender taking the brunt of the criticism for his side’s demise.
And, if the reports that Ten Hag would like to bring Martinez to the club are true, it would further imply that the England international’s future at Old Trafford hangs in the balance ahead of next season.
According to Squawka, when you compare Maguire and Martinez in their respective league performances this season, the Ajax defender has made more ball recoveries, won more aerial and ground duels, conceded fewer goals and made more interceptions in four fewer appearances than his Manchester United counterpart – proving that he would be a huge upgrade if signed.
As such, Ten Hag could form a formidable duo in Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez to improve the Red Devils’ back-line and repair the poor defensive play we have seen throughout the season so far at Old Trafford.
However, Manchester United are not the only club interested in signing the 24-year-old, with Barcelona also in hot pursuit to secure his signature.
And, although Ten Hag will boast an advantage when attempting to bring his current player to the Premier League, if United do not qualify for Champions League football next season, it could well lead to the player going elsewhere.
Ultimately, Ten Hag and his team will have to hope they have enough to attract the £42m talent who was hailed “composed” by Tony Cascarino if Man United are unable to get a top-four finish in the remaining weeks of this season.