Manchester United are ready to rival Arsenal for Ajax player of the season Lisandro Martinez, according to a report on the Daily Mail.
Ajax want around £30million for Martinez, who was signed by Erik ten Hag from Argentinian side Defensa y Justicia in 2019.
Premier League rivals Arsenal have already had a £25million bid for the defender rejected by Ajax this summer.
Despite Manchester United’s interest in Martinez, the report adds the Red Devils are not prioritising signing a centre-back at the moment because of the number of centre-backs the club currently have.
Manchester United currently have five centre-backs – Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly – at the club and Ten Hag will sign a centre-back only after selling a centre-back.
Known as ‘The Butcher of Amsterdam’, Martinez helped Ajax win the Eredivisie title last season as part of a miserly defence who conceded only 19 goals in 34 games.
The 24-year-old was used as a centre-back during the campaign but Ten Hag was impressed by his versatility when he played at full-back on both flanks and as a central midfielder following his arrival in Amsterdam.
Martinez has a contract with Ajax which runs until 2025 and has made over 100 appearances for Ajax.
Martinez is also an Argentine international, having made his Argentina debut in 2019. He was part of the Argentine squad who won the Finalissima against Italy at Wembley earlier this month.
Ten Hag had identified Ajax defender Jurrien Timber as his preferred choice to reinforce United’s leaky backline, but was left stunned when the 20-year-old snubbed a move to Old Trafford.
Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal is believed to have played a role in the decision, with the former United boss warning Timber that he would not have a place in this winter’s World Cup squad if he is not playing regularly.
This was revealed by Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan.
“The player was ready, I think, to come,” Van der Kraan told Sky Sports.
“His agents went over to London to Manchester United’s offices two weeks ago and I think they had very good talks. Money was never a problem.
“But then one man turned up… Louis van Gaal. [He] told the player in the Dutch camp, ‘look, if you go there, I think your chances could be limited of playing for Holland in the World Cup, three months after the season starts’.
“For Jurrien Timber, a great Ajax-style player, a Ten Hag-style player, that was a bit of a blow.”