Erik ten Hag Targets Another Ajax Defender

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is targeting another Ajax defender in Lisandro Martinez to join him at Old Trafford this summer, as reported by Telegraph Sport. Ten Hag believes he can be a success at United after being a huge part of the Dutchman’s success at Ajax.

The Argentinian centre back has three seasons left on his Ajax contract and would be expected to cost the Red Devils at least £25 million. The 24-year-old Argentinian international joined Ajax in the summer of 2019 and has been a key part of Erik ten Hag’s system since. He has played 120 games for Ajax, scoring six times.

Ajax Defender Lisandro Martinez Key for United Defensive Rebuild

Fitting the System

Erik ten Hag’s defensive system at Ajax was built on speed and one-on-one defending. Martinez is seen as the perfect player in this system, with his smart reading of the game, quality one-on-one defending and being able to pass the ball out of defence. The Argentinian is also strong in the air. This is important for United, who failed to score any of their first 139 corners this season.

Manchester United need centre back cover, having already been linked with Martinez’s current teammate and often centre back partner Jurrien Timber. Captain Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have had poor seasons, with Raphael Varane struggling with injuries. It’s hard to see how Maguire or Lindelof will fit ten Hag’s system, with the Dutchman preferring fast defenders who can defend one-v-one and be able to drive with the ball out of defence.

Erik ten Hag’s Priority List

Ten Hag has a long shopping list this summer. Manchester United could see double figures in departures, with many contracts running out in June. Priorities for the club include two midfielders, especially a deep-lying number six in a Rodri or Fabinho type role, to break up opposition play and build attacks from. Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic are both expected to leave Old Trafford this summer and United have been linked with another player who has played in ten Hag’s system in Frenkie de Jong.

Ten Hag would also like to add a striker to bolster his attacking options. Cristiano Ronaldo has accepted United need another centre forward but will depend on how far the Dutchman’s budget can stretch. The recruitment team will meet this week to plan United’s busy summer ahead.

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