Lisandro Martinez could complete the Manchester United move on Thursday

Manchester United could complete Lisandro Martinez deal as early as TODAY… after a £46m fee was finally agreed with Ajax for the 5ft 9in center back with help from Edwin van der Sar

  • Manchester United are closing on the £46m signing of Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez
  • Martinez has been a major target for both Manchester United and Arsenal
  • But United and new boss Erik ten Hag have won the race for Martinez
  • The deal could be announced as early as Thursday after Edwin van der Sar’s help

Manchester United are closing on the £46 million signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, with the deal expected to be completed on Thursday.

Talks have been moving in the right direction through Wednesday, with the Dutch club’s CEO and former United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar helping negotiations along.

Ajax had rejected United’s offer from last week of £42.5m including add-ons but are willing to accept a new proposal following lengthy talks on Wednesday and have already identified Lisandro’s potential replacement in Mykola Matvienko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Argentina international Lisandro made it clear to the Ajax board that he wished to leave once he became aware of interest from Arsenal then United. He has a strong relationship with United coach Erik ten Hag and the two have spoken in recent weeks.

Manchester United are closing on the £46 million signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez

Manchester United are closing on the £46 million signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez

A move to United will see the Argentine reunite with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag

A move to United will see the Argentine reunite with former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag

Lisandro was Ajax’s player of the year last season as Ten Hag delivered the Dutch league title prior to his departure. Indeed, the 23-year-old defender, whose idol is former United defender Gabriel Heinze, has won three league titles since joining in 2019 from Defensa y Justicia.

Although not the tallest centre-back at just 5ft 9ins, Lisandro reads the game well, is good in one-on-one situations and an astute passer of the ball. A fans’ favorite in Amsterdam, he can play at centre-back, left-back and holding midfield where former United defender Jaap Stam believes he could excel.

‘What’s important is that a defender has cleverness,’ said Stam. Lisandro Martinez has developed that. In England, there are a lot of fast attackers who are merciless in counters. So what is important is that a defender is smart and clever.

But because Martinez is comfortable on the ball he can also play in front of the defense. And I don’t rule out that ten Hag will use him there.’

United have six senior defenders on their books and hope to sell up to three with Axel Tuanzebe, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly the most likely.

Ten Hag saw his United side seal an impressive 4-0 win against Liverpool this week

Ten Hag saw his United side seal an impressive 4-0 win against Liverpool this week

Bailly has interest from Napoli but was impressive against Liverpool in Tuesday’s friendly and has indicated he wants to fight for his place.

The 28-year-old has wanted to leave in recent seasons as he believed he was never given a fair chance although untimely injuries hindered his progress.

United have flown 19-year-old Will Fish to Melbourne for the second leg of the tour to provide cover at centre-half as Tuanzebe has returned home and full-back Alex Telles was forced to play in central defense against Liverpool.

Meanwhile, United’s efforts to sign Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona continue to drag despite John Murtough and Richard Arnold meeting Barca executives this week.

The Holland midfielder and his representatives want the £17m plus he is owed in wages by Barca which he agreed to defer due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jadon Sancho (right) was among the scorers as United made a solid start to the pre-season

Jadon Sancho (right) was among the scorers as United made a solid start to the pre-season

Barcelona planned to repay the money over his contract, which runs to 2026, but a transfer would mean full repayment now.

United are hoping to complete a deal for Christian Eriksen by the end of this week and have held talks with Ajax over Antony, but the winger’s £68m valuation is prohibitive.

United continue to insist Ronaldo is not leaving but it is still not clear if he will join the squad on the Australian leg of their tour.

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