Man Utd and Arsenal told Lisandro Martinez price tag at secret London transfer talks

Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez has been linked with a move away from the Dutch club with Manchester United and Arsenal both keen to bring the Argentina international to the Premier League

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Manchester United and Arsenal have met with the representatives of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez – and were told £42million will secure the Argentine.

The Gunners have already had a £25million enquiry for the 24-year-old Argentine turned down, while United were planning on paying around £30million for a player who was nurtured in Amsterdam by new boss Erik ten Hag. Martinez wants to come to the Premier League, but fears Ajax are pricing him out of a move.

That didn’t stop intermediaries acting on the defender’s behalf from meeting with both clubs in London during the week. Martinez won two Eredivisie titles under Ten Hag and is the club’s current Player of the Year.

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United’s Dutch boss feels his versatility would add real strength to the squad he inherited, with the 5ft 7in Argentine able to play as a central defender or a left-back. Mikel Arteta is also impressed by Martinez’s ability to operate in different positions. But Ajax’s current valuation could be an issue for the money-men at both Old Trafford and the Emirates.

The Dutch champions are putting high prices on the heads of their players in a bid to prevent a mass exodus of talent following Ten Hag’s departure. Martinez moved to Europe in 2019 when he joined Ajax from Argentine club Defensa y Justicia. He made his international debut that same year and has won nine caps for his country. Martinez was an unused substitute as Argentina beat Italy at Wembley earlier this month.

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Erik ten Hag worked closely with Lisandro Martinez when he was in charge of Ajax which could give Manchester United the upper hand in the battle to sign him

United insist they have the funds for Ten Hag to recruit new players this summer. They continue to haggle with Barcelona for Ten Hag’s No 1 target Frenkie de Jong. And Christian Eriksen is yet to be convinced that joining the Red Devils would be a better option for him than signing another contract with Brentford. Sources in Holland suggest that Ten Hag has been surprised by the lack of progress after the squad he inherited has already lost players like Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard.

United chief executive Richard Arnold admitted that United have squandered £1billion in the transfer market since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. So the club’s reluctance to spend beyond the valuations they have set for players is understandable. But his revelation that he is struggling to find the finance to modernise the stadium will crank up the worries of supporters that cash needed for new players will be redirected elsewhere despite continuing to generate huge revenues.

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