'I don't want to be like Van Dijk' - Why Man Utd fans will love Martinez

Karan Tejwani
Karan Tejwani Updated: 17 Jul 2022 18:20 BST 3 min read
Lisandro Martinez, Ajax, 2021/22

Lisandro Martinez has completed a €55 million move to Man Utd from Ajax, reuniting with Erik ten Hag.

The pair worked together for three seasons at Ajax and Martinez was a largely important figure, even being named Ajax’s Player of the Season in the 2020-21 campaign.

Martinez can play in two positions, having played in defence and midfield for Ajax, but over the past season, he has been a centre-half, forming a solid partnership with another former United target, Jurrien Timber.

Martinez has no qualms over his stature

In recent weeks, there have been questions over whether he can handle the physicality of the Premier League and the changes of going from the Eredivisie to the English top-flight.

The defender stands at 5ft 9in, hence the concerns, but Martinez is adamant he can be a success, citing a great of the game as an example.

"Cannavaro was comfortable on the ball. And, despite his lack of height, he challenged for every ball as if it was the last tackle to win the game, I loved that style – and I am just like him."

Adding to that, he said that he doesn’t need to have a great physical stature – like Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk – and that his own style is something that he likes.

"I would prefer not to be like Virgil van Dijk. His height is certainly a big plus, but when you don’t have the other qualities, it is worth nothing.

“My favourite position is definitely central defence. I started out as a midfielder, but I learned all the qualities for a central defender who plays in an attacking team under [Erik] Ten Hag. I can look after myself."

Martinez was also of interest to Arsenal, with the latter launching an unsuccessful bid for the player.

United have now beaten Arsenal to the Argentine as they bolster their back-line and get their transfer window rolling with a third signing this month.

The Red Devils believe Martinez will be a valuable signing, adding a different profile to the squad alongside Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane.

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