Lisandro Martinez is the 5ft 9 ‘Argentine Butcher’ who won more aerial duels than Harry Maguire last year, grew up idolising Gabriel Heinze and is now wanted by Man United July 2, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

Lisandro Martinez is a name on a lot of people’s lips at the moment and we could be seeing him in the Premier League very soon.

talkSPORT understands Manchester United have made an formal offer of £39m for the Ajax star as they look to recruit one of Europe’s best young defenders.

Getty

Martinez could well be in the Premier League very soon

Arsenal had identified Martinez as their top defensive target and had their opening offer for the player rejected.

However, the 24-year-old became prominent under new United manager Erik ten Hag, and the Dutchman fancies bringing him to Old Trafford.

Martinez was born in Argentina and, like most kids his age, spent the time chasing around a football, hoping he would one day get to emulate his idol and former Red Devils defender Gabriel Heinze.

His big break came when he was eight, when he joined youth side Club Libertad and then progressed on to Newell’s Old Boys, one of the most famous clubs in South America.

Old Boys was where a certain Lionel Messi came to prominence, and it was also where Marcelo Bielsa cut his teeth as a manager.

It was here where Martinez began to develop as a footballer and grow into the player we see today.

Martinez’s hero was Heinze

Martinez’s hero was Heinze


He then moved to Defensa y Justicia, where he caught Ajax’s eye.

The Dutch giants recruited Martinez in the summer of 2019 after they had reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and sold Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus.

Former Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars was a big fan: “Martinez is a left-footed player who can play several positions in the back.

“He is a defender who likes to play football forward.”

And under Ten Hag’s guidance, he became a key cog in the latest Ajax side.

The Argentine international has made over 100 appearances for the Dutch side and he has played in four different positions, suggesting he’s pretty versatile.

However, despite being just 5ft 9, Martinez has come of age as a centre-back.

Now, he may seem a bit short to play that role, but last season he won more aerial duels per 90 minutes than Harry Maguire managed for United.

Statistically, Martinez was better in the air than Maguire last year

Statistically, Martinez was better in the air than Maguire last year

So although teams might think they can target Martinez in the air because of his height, they can’t.

Couple this with his almost relentless determination to win the ball back, you have a pretty special player on your hands.

In fact, his determination on the pitch has earned him the nickname ‘The Argentine Butcher’.

Martinez discussed his nickname in an interview last year: “In Argentina I never hear that nickname, but I know that the fans here call me that. I like that and see it as a compliment. I never give up and always go into battle full of struggle. That’s how I am.”

And that fight and commitment were massively appreciated by Ten Hag as well, who described the Argentine as ‘excellent’.

But Martinez is also brilliant on the ball and can comfortably play at left-back or in a defensive midfield role because of his passing ability.

He averaged 81.8 passes per game in the Eredivisie at a completion rate of 88.9 percent.

You can see exactly why the Red Devils want to add him to their side, but they are going to have to act fast with the Gunners pushing hard for Martinez too.

It appears as if this diminutive but talented and strong-willed defender could well be in the Premier League very soon.

And we think he would be a wonderful addition to the top-flight.

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