Manchester United in advanced negotiations for Ajax's Lisandro Martinez

 

Lisandro Martinez of Ajax, Edson Alvarez of Ajax, Jurrien Timber of Ajax celebrating the championship with the trophy dish during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax v SC Heerenveen at the Johan Cruijff Arena on May 11, 2022 in Amsterdam Netherlands.

Manchester United are in advanced negotiations with Ajax over Lisandro Martinez amid a belief the Argentine defender prefers a move to Old Trafford over Arsenal.

Erik ten Hag wants Martinez, 24, to follow him from Amsterdam to Manchester.

Arsenal also hold an interest in Martinez and submitted a new bid of €40 million for the defender on Tuesday, as reported by The Athletic.

But sources say United feel they have edged ahead as favourites for the Argentina international, who spent three seasons playing under Ten Hag in the Eredivisie. Martinez has though yet to make a decision because neither United or Arsenal have yet reached agreement with Ajax. He is still on holiday.

Ajax are holding out for a higher fee but further talks over the weekend are expected to establish a final price.

Arsenal's pursuit of Martinez continues and personal terms would not be a problem for the north London side. The issue now is which club can agree a fee with Ajax and then who Martinez decides to join.

Martinez, who has played most of his football as a centre-back but can also operate on the left and in defensive midfield, has made 120 appearances for Ajax since a move from Argentinian side Defensa y Justicia in 2019.

United view Martinez as a centre-back of a different profile to rival Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, and Raphael Varane.

The club are open to offers for Eric Bailly, with Fulham interested, although sources suggest he wants to fight for his place at United and will report to training on Monday. Clubs are also looking at Phil Jones.

Arsenal are said to be see Martinez, who is 5ft 9in and excellent on the ball, primarily as a left-back. Mikel Arteta’s side are pushing for his signature.

The Athletic revealed earlier on Friday that another player based in the Netherlands, Feyenoord’s Tyrell Malacia, had agreed personal terms with United.

It is understood the 22-year-old has agreed a four-year contract with the option for an additional fifth year.

The deal has not yet been signed, but it is possible Malacia will undergo a medical over the weekend.

Malacia would become Ten Hag’s first signing since he replaced Ralf Rangnick at the club. Meanwhile United are continuing their efforts to recruit Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen remains a target.

 

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