Manchester United are finalising a deal to sign Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.
Sky Sports News understands talks are at an advanced stage with the structure of the payments for the deal under discussion, while Martinez’s personal terms are not expected to be a problem.
It is thought Ajax want £42.3m (€50m) for the 24-year-old, who previously played for United boss Ten Hag at the Amsterdam side.
United have previously stated they will not overpay for Martinez. Sky Sports News revealed earlier this month that Martinez has informed Dutch club Ajax of his desire to move to the Premier League.
Arsenal were also interested in the Argentina international but have conceded defeat in their pursuit, while the Gunners’ playing style – along with the prospect of playing for Mikel Arteta – appealed to Martinez, he has chosen to move to Old Trafford.
Martinez offers brains, brawn and versatility
Sky Sports features writer Nick Wright:
“Last season, Martinez averaged more passes per 90 minutes than any other Eredivisie player, while only two players directed more passes forward per 90 minutes.
“Those numbers underline Martinez’s ability to play through opposition lines but he is similarly adept at switching the play and picking out team-mates over longer distances. At Ajax last season, no player averaged more successful long passes per 90 minutes.
“Voted Ajax’s player of the year for his role in their Eredivisie title triumph last season, Martinez stands at just 5ft 9ins, making him small for a centre-back.
“Last season at Ajax, he made more headed clearances (29) than any other player and won 79 of his 112 aerial duels, giving him a success rate of 71 per cent and putting him second only to Harry Maguire among Manchester United and Arsenal’s current centre-backs.
“Martinez can expect to face more exacting opponents in the Premier League, of course, but he is also helped by a sound reading of the game. He is known for anticipating strikers’ runs and positioning himself smartly to make tackles and interceptions.
“Those qualities, coupled with his versatility and technical prowess, make him all the more alluring to Premier League suitors.”
Man Utd hopeful of signing De Jong
Manchester United remain hopeful of completing a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who is not actively looking to leave the Spanish giants but is open to re-uniting with Ten Hag, whom he worked under at Ajax.
United have a “broad agreement” with Barca on the fee – believed to be €65m (£56m) plus performance-related add-ons.
Chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough continue talks with Barca officials over the transfer, but the deal is problematic because De Jong has backdated wage issues. It is thought he is owed £17m after taking a pay cut during the pandemic.
United continue to insist that want-away striker Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale.
Eriksen to sign for Utd in coming days
Manchester United are also hopeful of completing a deal to sign Christian Eriksen in the coming days.
The Danish midfielder is set to sign a three-year contract at Old Trafford and will officially sign once he completes his medical.
The 30-year-old, who spent the second half of last season at Brentford, worked with Ten Hag when he trained with Ajax as part of his return to football following his cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020.
United were patient in their pursuit of Eriksen and put no pressure on the midfielder for a decision, as they understood his choice would be based on more than just football.
Eriksen was settled in London with his family at Brentford, but has been attracted by the prospect of working under Ten Hag and being part of United’s new era under the Dutchman.
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