Manchester United finally confirm the £55m signing of Lisandro Martinez as Erik ten Hag raids his old club Ajax to land the ‘Butcher of Amsterdam’ – and pile pressure on Harry Maguire
- Lisandro Martinez has finally completed £55million move to Manchester United
- United had agreed a deal with Ajax earlier in July as they targeted new defender
- Argentina international has penned a five-year deal worth £120,000 per week
- Martinez expected to become first choice in defence alongside Harry Maguire
Manchester United have completed the £55million move of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax to continue their summer rebuild under Erik ten Hag.
Ten Hag had targeted a new centre-back in this transfer window and worked with the Argentina international in his previous three seasons at Ajax.
United and Ajax quickly came to an agreement over the £55m fee earlier in July and Martinez has signed a five-year deal worth £120,000 a week with an option for an extra year.
Lisandro Martinez has completed his £55million move from Ajax to Manchester United
Martinez shows his delight as he signs his Manchester United contract ahead of a new season
United will pay an initial £46.8m plus £8.5m in add-ons, making Martinez the second most expensive defender in the club’s history after Harry Maguire.
Martinez described joining the Red Devils as an honour and that he believes United can become a major force under Ten Hag.
‘It’s an honour to join this great football club,’ he said. ‘I’ve worked so hard to get to this moment and now that I’m here I’m going to push myself even further.
‘I’ve been lucky enough to be part of successful teams in my career and that’s what I want to continue at Manchester United. There will be a lot of work to get to that moment, but I firmly believe that under this manager and coaches, and together with my new teammates, we can do it.
Martinez arrives from Ajax where he spent three years playing under Erik ten Hag
Martinez arrives at United’s Carrington training ground with Christian Eriksen on Tuesday
‘I want to thank Ajax and their fans for all the support they gave me. I had an unbelievable time there but feel the moment is right to test myself in another environment. Now I am at the perfect club to do that.’
A club statement from United read: ‘Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached agreement with Ajax for the transfer of Argentine international defender Lisandro Martinez, subject to medical, to player terms being finalised, and to UK visa requirements.’
Martinez’s announcement comes after the defender was spotted arriving at the club’s Carrington training ground on Tuesday, having been driven in by fellow summer signing Christian Eriksen in a 4×4 Audi.
The previous evening, Martinez had also been spotted in Manchester City centre at the Italian restaurant Don Giovanni along with his girlfriend Muri Lopez and has been staying at the nearby five-star Lowry Hotel.
Martinez has previously been one of Ten Hag’s trusted stars in three years at Ajax
The Argentina international is now expected to become a key first team star at Old Trafford
Martinez is the club’s third summer signing, following the capture of left-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord earlier in July, while playmaker Christian Eriksen arrived from Brentford following the expiry of his six-month deal.
Ten Hag will hope Martinez can help improve a defence that, with 57 goals, conceded the second most inside the top 10 of the Premier League last season.
The 24-year-old arrives with huge promise of helping United get back to winning ways following a torrid campaign from the Red Devils last term where they scraped to sixth place and a Europa League spot under interim manager Ralf Rangnick following the early season sacking of Ole Gunnar Solskajer.
Last season Martinez won Ajax’s Player of the Year award and could be expected to feature as first choice alongside club captain Maguire this term.
Erik Ten Hag will hope Martinez can help plug one of the top 10’s leakiest defences last term
The move for Martinez comes after Ten Hag missed out on signing another Ajax star in Jurrien Timber, who opted to stay with the Dutch champions to strengthen his chances of securing playing time ahead of Holland’s World Cup campaign in Qatar this winter.
Ten Hag has also suffered another transfer blow, with Ajax fighting to keep hold of Antony.
Ajax have dramatically upped their asking price for the in-demand winger in a bid to stave off interest from United.
Ten Hag is interested in bringing the Brazilian star to Old Trafford this summer but the Dutch side have raised their fee demand from £68m to £84m to underline he is not for sale.
Arsenal had also been interested in Martinez but United acted quickly to nail down the defender, who can also play in midfield, once his interest in playing in the Premier League became known.
Although United are not short of centre-backs, Martinez’s left-footed style makes him unique to a pool of defenders that also include Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Maguire.
In addition, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe also remain on the books at Old Trafford but it is understood the club are ready to listen to offers for the trio.
Martinez is now the second most expensive defender in United’s history behind Harry Maguire
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