After a truly gradual begin, the primary segment of Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United revolution is subsequently amassing momentum.
The new supervisor will feel an entire lot higher to get some clean faces through the door at Old Trafford, with Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen signed, sealed and delivered.
And the modern day acquisition sees Lisandro Martinez come in from Ten Hag’s former club Ajax, in a deal so as to ultimately fee United £fifty five.3million.
Manchester United have secured the £55million signing of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax – reuniting the Argentine along with his former teach Erik ten Hag
Martinez, 24, gives versatility and may play at centre-again, left-lower back and shielding midfield
It’s a clever pass. Not handiest is the Argentina worldwide properly accustomed to the needs of Ten Hag from their time together in Amsterdam, he offers United lots of versatility.
Martinez, 24, can play as a principal defender, a left-again or as a protecting midfielder, with experience of gambling inside the 4-three-3 or three-5-2 formations that the teach favours.
Ten Hag knew whilst he started the job that central defence and defensive midfield have been the most pressing problems to resolve in a United team that done nicely beneath the predicted requirements final season.
Martinez received Dutch league titles all through his time in the Ajax ranks, plus the Dutch cup
Martinez won’t cure all ills but Ten Hag will sense much higher to have him on board. It’s unlikely to alternate the state of affairs with Frenkie de Jong, but, who turned into always his No 1 goal for the summer time.
Although United and Barcelona have agreed a £seventy one.5m rate for the Dutch midfielder, De Jong is reluctant to surrender Champions League football on the Nou Camp, even if being shunted in the direction of the go out door.
So where will Martinez fit into Ten Hag’s plans for United and what will the brand new boy offer them?
NEW PARTNER FOR MAGUIRE OR VARANE AT CENTRE-HALF
The most probably scenario is that Martinez joins United’s pool of centre-halves.
Ten Hag normally deployed a 4-3-3 shape during his time dealing with Ajax, with Martinez partnering Jurrien Timber, another United goal this summer time, at centre-lower back in the majority of games.
But the proof of United’s pre-season friendlies thus far is that Ten Hag will set them out in their acquainted four-2-3-1 and given this has brought four-0 and four-1 wins, it isn’t probably to alternate quickly.
So Martinez is possibly to be paired with both captain Harry Maguire or Raphael Varane at the returned.
Captain Harry Maguire may be sweating on his vicinity with a new significant defender coming in
Those 3 could be the favoured centre-backs, in some thing aggregate, with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly dropping down the defensive pecking order given lingering doubts approximately their capabilities.
Varane’s numerous injury troubles prevented him playing as tons as he would have favored in the course of his first season at United however there had been some encouraging signs and symptoms whilst he performed along Maguire.
But one among them might need to make manner for Martinez to are available in, with the new arrival supplying a point of distinction in that he’s left-footed.
Martinez is snug at the ball and adept at passing out of defence, competencies that have been obligatory at Ten Hag’s Ajax, and no matter being only 5ft 9in is very robust aerially.
He is the type of person who will relish the physical battles that are part of the task description in English soccer and is aware of exactly what his manager might be annoying of him.
How Man United could probably line up in the coming season with Martinez in defence
Raphael Varane struggled with harm problems in the course of his first season at Old Trafford
The key question is who makes manner to accommodate Martinez. Ten Hag has already made clean his religion in Maguire as his captain in spite of the England defender’s poor shape final season.
Maguire also usually plays at the left of the two, with Varane or Lindelof at the proper, and that is where Martinez would need to be.
However, in Friday’s friendly win over Melbourne Victory, Maguire and Lindelof swapped positions. It could be a diffused hint from Ten Hag that Martinez goes to line up along Maguire because the first-preference pairing.
That will no question annoy Varane, who failed to get hazard to absolutely show his elegance all through a turbulent first season.
But, in truth, all will get masses of opportunities given the inevitable injuries and suspensions, not to say the sheer weight of games with United slogging via the Europa League once more within the season in advance.
Victor Lindelof will drop down the pecking order having featured often final season
This increases the possibility of Ten Hag placing United up with 3 significant defenders, making space for Martinez, Maguire and Varane in anything combination.
It’s now not some thing he favoured at Ajax however may be considered if United make a gradual begin to the Premier League season or surely as a again-up plan.
It would involve repurposing Luke Shaw as a left wing-lower back – as he played for England at some stage in some of Euro 2020 – or playing new boy Malacia inside the position, and getting greater attacking gains out of Aaron Wan-Bissaka or Diogo Dalot.
Such a flow would provide reassurance for Maguire, who’s used to gambling that manner for England and also would have the insurance of two other defenders if he wanted to dribble the ball out.
Martinez’s composure as a ball-gambling important defender will be an asset for United
But switching to this device might require a whole lot of labor at the training ground.
Last season, Ralf Rangnick determined to tear up United’s normal recreation plan and play a 5-3-2 in opposition to Liverpool at Anfield, with a back line of Dalot, Maguire, Jones, Lindelof and Wan-Bissaka (at the left). United lost four-0.
It might not come obviously to United’s gamers and so isn’t the maximum probably alternative – at least no longer to begin with.
When Martinez arrived at Ajax in 2019 from the Argentine membership Defensa y Justicia, he turned into a midfielder and Ten Hag supposed for him to replace De Jong, who’d simply joined Barcelona.
Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong is Ten Hag’s No 1 summer switch goal
The instruct wanted Martinez to be his midfield ‘mind’, playing the neat passes that hold Ajax ticking over. But there has been masses of brawn as properly.
Martinez became nicknamed the ‘Butcher of Amsterdam’ for his uncompromising tackles and South American ardour.
As he has said within the past: ‘I am referred to as the carnicero – the Butcher – of Amsterdam.
‘We Argentines do the whole thing with passion and once I exit at the pitch I fight for each ball. If I should step over useless bodies, I do it.
‘I want to win every 50-50 scenario because I recognize that I am combating for meals for each member of my circle of relatives and for my buddies.
‘That is the sensation I even have – and every Argentinian has. It is the type of motivation I cannot provide an explanation for.’
However, he failed to always discover it clean at Ajax. It took him a while to regulate to the ‘Ajax manner’ of football.
‘In the first 3 weeks, I had a horrible time. It is totally one-of-a-kind, every other depth,’ he told La Nacion in 2020.
‘At first I desired to move home and cry. I felt bad.
‘I am a participant who loves to have the ball, but once they played me with one or touches, they killed me.’
How United may want to line-up if Martinez is deployed as a conserving midfielder via Erik ten Hag
Martinez has performed in midfield for Ajax and could experience comfortable there for United
He did sooner or later rise up to hurry in midfield but might be converted right into a centre-half later in his time at Ajax.
Martinez has said inside the past he might be open to returning to a midfield position if required. This is more likely if United fail in their pursuit of De Jong.
They only have Scott McTominay and Fred as set up names in protecting midfield and so Martinez could be a 3rd option. This might also resolve the imperative defensive predicament.
But Ten Hag is a stubborn guy and, having placed De Jong top of his buying list because he is so vital to how he wants to play, he’ll assume the deal to be finished.
In another sign of ways versatile he is, Martinez did once in a while play at left-again for Ajax.
But given United have Shaw, Malacia and additionally Alex Telles in that function, they must be well-stocked unless there may be a freak harm disaster.
However, it’s peace of thoughts for Ten Hag to recognise he has a person who can suit in there.
United bought Tyrell Malacia to reinforce their left-back options in advance in the summer time