Manchester United are reportedly sizing up a move for Ajax’s left centre-back Lisandro Martinez.
That is according to a report from The Telegraph, who claimed that Ten Hag is keen on a reunion with the 24-year-old and sees Martinez as an “ideal player” due to his pace and passing ability.
As such, it is said that the 52-year-old has added Martinez, whom he signed for Ajax from Defensa y Justicia in 2019, to his wish list, alongside Ajax team-mate Jurrien Timber.
At current, Martinez has three years left on his contract at Ajax, with a reported fee of £25m enough to prise him from the clutches of the Amsterdam outfit.
Martinez’s arrival would spell trouble for Harry Maguire, who is not an orthodox centre-back by way of Ten Hag’s style.
As a 24-year-old left-footed centre-back at a major European club, with three years left on his contract, his reported £25m fee looks to be a bargain. Add in the fact that Ten Hag has worked with him and understands his character and competency as a ball-playing defender, and you have a foolproof and versatile central defender for an absolute snip.
These are the sort of signings that the 52-year-old should be looking to make – underrated but proven stars who can be astutely acquired for a relatively small fee.
Martinez not only fits the bill financially but possesses numbers far greater than the options in the United back-line. His averages of 80.88 completed passes, 3.13 tackles, 11.63 ball recoveries and 6.13 progressive carries per game illustrate that he is excellent at his job, with his scores ranking him between the 89th and 99th percentile for the aforementioned metrics, as per FBRef.
Martinez’s “bulldog-like” approach in defence has seen him scoop Ajax’s Rinus Michels Player of the Year award, joining a list which boasts the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Jari Litmanen, Frank Rijkaard and Luis Suarez, to name a few.
Ten Hag is right to add Martinez to his shortlist, and with United’s desperation for a left-footed centre-back, you would hope that the 24-year-old’s name is high up on the Dutchman’s list.