How Man Utd could go to a back-three with Lisandro Martinez
A deal in principle had previously been agreed, but the formalities have only just been completed for the Argentina international, who was named Ajax's Player of the Season for the 2021/22 campaign.
It means that the versatile defender is reunited with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, who brought the best out of the 24-year-old.
The transfer that has taken place is worth €55 million before add-ons are considered, making him one of Manchester United's most expensive signings ever.
And he should prove worth it. With Martinez moving to Old Trafford, it opens up a variety of options for the club, as Ten Hag gets to grips with his new team.
Manchester United would get more options with Martinez signing
For the last season, Martinez has played in defence, forming a solid partnership with another Manchester United target, Jurrien Timber, as they broke defensive records in the first half of the season.
In the past, Martinez has also played in defensive midfield in the absence of Edson Alvarez, and he did fairly well in the role, although by his own admission, he prefers playing in the heart of the back-line.
It’s expected that if he joins Manchester United, he will continue playing in defence as Ten Hag likes the variety he provides, adding a different profile compared to Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane.
It would also invite Ten Hag to play a back three – something he hasn’t done at Ajax but has attempted at Utrecht, and considering Martinez is left-footed, he will be able to adapt on the left side.
OFFICIAL: Man Utd have announced the signing of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax 🤝 pic.twitter.com/mDnlI3uDbk— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) July 17, 2022
There have been questions over Martinez’s physical stature – he stands at 5ft 9in tall, and having two other defenders to protect him in a back three would be helpful.
Additionally, if United are truly interested in bringing over Jurrien Timber in the January transfer window, then the back three would be favourable for the Dutch defender too, giving him room to adapt.
If Martinez is played in midfield – which seems unlikely – then the back three may be dropped, but he could be used as the lone defensive midfielder, supporting the likes of Bruno Fernandes and possibly Frenkie de Jong if he does join.
It would be interesting to see how he is deployed at the club, and his versatility is something the club have lacked for several years.
Martinez is still quite young, only 24 years of age, an Argentina international, and has plenty of time to improve which could make him a shrewd signing for Manchester United.