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Lisandro Martinez 'wants to join Manchester United over Arsenal'

Lisandro Martinez 'wants to join Man United over Arsenal'
© Reuters
Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez wants to join Manchester United over Arsenal this summer, according to a report.

Lisandro Martinez is "very high" on Manchester United's summer wishlist, and the Red Devils are in pole position for the Ajax centre-back, according to Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan.

The 20-time English champions are keen to sign a new central defender during this summer's transfer window, with Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe potentially being allowed to depart in the current market.

Ajax's Jurrien Timber had seemingly been their leading target, but the youngster is said to have made the decision to stay in Amsterdam for another year, and talk of a move for his teammate Martinez has gathered pace over the last few days.

Arsenal and Man United are both believed to be keen on the Argentina international, and Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano has claimed that the Gunners are leading the race for his signature.

"My understanding is that these are two negotiations at different stages: Arsenal have already submitted official offers up to €40m (£34.2m) plus add-ons for Martinez, while Manchester United are currently busy with Tyrell Malacia and Frenkie de Jong, but have had contact with Lisandro's agents," Romano wrote in his column for Caught Offside.

"The player is so far open to negotiate with both clubs. Arsenal are insisting a lot this week because Arteta is understood to be a big fan of Lisandro, considered a versatile player with top team skills. For now, the Gunners' interest is more advanced, but this still looks like it could be an open race."

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag, Mitchell van der Gaag, director of football John Murtough, Steve McClaren and chief executive officer Richard Arnold in the stands on May 22, 2022© Reuters

However, according to Van der Kraan, Martinez has "his hopes pinned on United", and new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag is desperate for a reunion with the player that he managed in Amsterdam.

"Martinez is very high on Erik ten Hag's wishlist, so I expect big developments in the 24 or 48 hours," he told De Telegraaf. "Martinez will also have his hopes pinned on United, who are an absolute top club for him.

"Ajax will really cash out for Martinez and go to €45m (£38.7m)-€50m (£43m), but that is the advantage if two clubs bid, as we saw with Lyon and Manchester United, then it suddenly goes higher."

Martinez scored once and provided four assists in 36 appearances in all competitions for Ajax last term, while he has represented the Dutch outfit on 118 occasions since arriving from Defensa y Justica in 2019.

The South American still has more than three years left to run on his contract, which has put the Dutch champions in a strong position to negotiate a high transfer fee.

Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong warms up in May 2022© Reuters

Van der Kraan has also said that Man United should be able to confirm a deal for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong "after the weekend".

"I think the deal will be done after the weekend," he said. "There is an agreement on the amount. It goes towards €80m (£68.9m), that starts with €65m (£55.9m), but there is also €20m (£17.2m) in bonuses added.

"If you have that as the total picture, then Barcelona has all their money from Frenkie. The player has what he (Ten Hag) will build his whole team around."

A recent report had claimed that the Netherlands international was refusing to leave Camp Nou and had told Man United that he did not want to join them this summer.

However, the 20-time English champions are seemingly confident of securing a deal for the 25-year-old, with a "broad agreement" recently reached between the two clubs.

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Lisandro Martinez warms up for Ajax on December 9, 2020
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Arsenal 'ahead of Man United in race for Lisandro Martinez'
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