Manchester United

Lisandro Martinez becomes Man Utd's top defensive target

Lisandro Martinez has emerged as Erik ten Hag's top defensive target
Lisandro Martinez has emerged as Erik ten Hag's top defensive target / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Erik ten Hag has made Lisandro Martinez his top priority signing in Manchester United's defence, 90min understands.

United and Premier League rivals Arsenal share strong interest in the Argentinian, 24, who was signed by Ten Hag at Ajax in 2019. Arsenal's interest is more formalised as it stands and the Gunners have lodged multiple offers for the player, the latest of which being worth €40m plus add-ons.

Ajax are holding out for a fee of €50m, and while United have yet to lodge an offer of their own their interest has been made clear. The Dutch champions fully expect to have their valuation met given the clubs interested.

Ten Hag and United have switched their attention to signing a centre half after making strong headway on deals for Dutch internationals Frenkie de Jong and Tyrell Malacia, of Barcelona and Ajax respectively. Finishing touches are being put on both transfers and United expect to have them tied up within a matter of days.

Christian Eriksen has received a contract offer from United and the club are awaiting his decision - his Brentford contract has expired though he has the option to renew with the west London club - while United still hold interest in Martinez's Ajax teammate Antony.

Listen now to 90min's Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott SaundersGraeme BaileyHarry Symeou & Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Chelsea's interest in Raheem Sterling and Todd Boehly's involvement in transfers, and Manchester United's pursuits of Frenkie de Jong, Lisandro Martinez and Antony. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can't see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

While Antony has now been identified as United's main transfer priority for the summer window following the broad agreement for De Jong, Arsenal's decision to move for Martinez has brought United to the table for fear of missing out.

90min reported earlier this week that Ajax were hopeful of earning at least €120m for the two players if sold, with Antony's valuation standing at €70m plus. Ajax have seen two players in direct competition for a spot in the Brazilian national team's attack - Richarlison and Raphinha - near moves for fees in a similar region, so feel justified in their asking price.

Martinez has moved ahead of Villarreal's Pau Torres in United's priority list in defence as Ten Hag targets players who are familiar with his style of play, in order for the team to hit the ground running as early as possible into his reign. The fact that Ten Hag has already worked extensively with Martinez is considered a big factor as he is already aware of the player's qualities.

United have started pre-season training at Carrington this week with the existing playing squad, minus those on international duty at the end of last season.