Lisandro Martinez: Guy Utd And Arsenal Transfer Target Has Shone For Ajax And Gives Brains, Brawn And Versatility Soccer News – Redacaoemcampo

« At the start, I felt like going domestic and crying, » said Lisandro Martinez. It become August 2020 and, in an interview with La Nacion, the young Argentine changed into recalling his arrival at Ajax a yr in advance.


« The first few weeks were terrible, » Martinez introduced. Training classes, he said, have been « completely distinctive » from what he changed into accustomed to in Argentina. « Different depth. Different manage. Different passes. Different analyzing of the sport. »

Martinez, new to Europe and only 21 on the time, determined himself suffering to keep up. « I’m a player who likes to have the ball, however when they performed with one or short touches, they killed me, » he stated. « It changed into great how off the pace I become. »

It become exquisite, too, how speedy he overcame those early struggles.

Martinez soon found his toes among his new crew-pals – « I started out to sense appropriate after pre-season, » he said – and set about satisfying the widespread potential Ajax had seen in him as a combative and technically gifted centre-lower back with Defensa y Justicia in Argentina.

Within a few months, a player almost decreased to tears by the step up in first-class at Ajax had grow to be referred to as ‘the butcher’ through the club’s supporters. Aggressive in his defending however measured in possession, he was already a key discern for Erik ten Hag.

Three years on, Martinez now reveals himself at the centre of a tug of war between his vintage manager, who has taken over at Manchester United, and Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. The Premier League beckons.Versatility and studying Kimmich

Martinez completed his €7m flow from Defensa y Justicia to Ajax inside the equal summer time Matthijs de Ligt departed for Juventus.

The Argentine was visible as an extended-term alternative for the club’s former captain at centre-back but his achievement in Holland, and his attractiveness to United and Arsenal, is down to his versatility too. Martinez also can play at left-lower back or in vital midfield.

Indeed, having started his first season at Ajax in De Ligt’s vintage function, one wherein he had played the majority of his football as a young player in Argentina, he quickly observed himself getting into the midfield function vacated via Frenkie de Jong six months earlier.

« At the start of the season we were searching out a mind for relevant midfield, » stated Ten Hag at the time. « We knew Martinez had performed in relevant midfield, but should he do it in Ajax’s system? We tried him there and we noticed excellent things. »

It is a testomony to Martinez’s tactical intelligence that, in strange environment, and without any knowledge of English, let alone Dutch, he become able to adapt to likely the maximum disturbing function in the Ajax crew, dictating the play from the base of midfield and providing a bridge between defence and attack.

Martinez was helped with the aid of his innate technical capacity however his urge for food for development become similarly critical. Martinez, studious by nature, made a concerted attempt to watch and learn from other gamers who had made the transition from defence to midfield.

« The membership usually give you data, but you need to do extras your self for a new function, » he introduced to La Nacion. « I watch soccer all of the time and I study all gamers, in all positions, and look at how they move. I love the information about gamers. »


Lisandro Martinez joined Ajax from Defensa y Justicia in Argentina in 2019

One player he watched specifically closely changed into Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich, who commenced out as a right-returned earlier than being earlier than being moved into midfield with awesome fulfillment beneath Pep Guardiola.

« When he plays in midfield, I like the calmness he has and the manner he reads the game, » said Martinez. « A participant must be shrewd. He has to have faith, of course, but it’s a recreation of choices and you are making decisions with your head. »

Martinez quickly became called an old head on younger shoulders at Ajax and impressed over the direction of that first season, starting all however one in every of their 37 video games in all competitions earlier than the Eredivisie marketing campaign turned into curtailed via the pandemic in April 2020.Height no barrier in defence

The following season proved extra challenging for Martinez, with Ten Hag initially who prefer to apply Ryan Gravenberch inside the deep-mendacity midfield position and Daley Blind as his left-sided centre-again.

But after some months at the outer edge, Martinez fought his way returned into the crew, this time in critical defence, in which he fashioned an effective partnership with academy graduate Jurrien Timber.

The flow again from midfield to centre-back required Martinez to take on introduced defensive duty however gambling deeper did not make him any less influential to Ajax’s build-up play.

In truth, last season, he averaged greater passes consistent with ninety mins than another Eredivisie participant, while only two players directed more passes forward consistent with 90 minutes.

Those numbers underline Martinez’s capacity to play via competition strains however he is similarly adept at switching the play and picking out group-pals over longer distances. At Ajax ultimate season, no player averaged greater a success long passes consistent with ninety mins.

Returning to centre-again additionally allowed Martinez, voted Ajax’s participant of the year for his function in their Eredivisie name triumph ultimate season, to overcome any doubts approximately his bodily suitability to the function.

Martinez stands at just 5ft 9ins, making him small for a centre-back, a relative lack of top which satisfied his boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys to permit him to join opponents Defensa y Justicia as a young player again in Argentina.

« His natural role is primary defence however because he isn’t tall, his coaches at Newell’s doubted him while he changed into looking to win his area, » Nicolas Diez, one of his coaches at Defensa y Justicia, said in an interview with El Pais soon after his departure to Ajax.

« They had been a chunk concerned about the issue of peak, » recalled Martinez himself, « however it changed into some thing I by no means gave any significance. »


Lisandro Martinez in action for Ajax in the Champions League

Instead, he resolved to make up for it in different approaches.

Like his countryman Roberto Ayala, a former Argentina international seemed as one of the high-quality centre-backs of his era notwithstanding his small stature, Martinez is deceptively strong in the air and boasts a powerful leap.

Last season at Ajax, he made more headed clearances (29) than some other participant and won seventy nine of his 112 aerial duels, giving him a success charge of seventy one per cent and placing him 2nd handiest to Harry Maguire amongst Manchester United and Arsenal’s present day centre-backs.

Martinez can assume to stand more exacting opponents inside the Premier League, of course, but he is also helped via a sound reading of the game. He is known for looking ahead to strikers’ runs and positioning himself well to make tackles and interceptions.

Those traits, coupled along with his versatility and technical prowess, make him all of the extra desirable to Premier League suitors. Whether he ends up at Old Trafford or the Emirates remains to be seen however Lisandro Martinez has already come an extended manner.Follow the transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be at the flow this summer time before the switch window closes at 11pm on September 1?

Keep up-to-date with all of the today’s switch news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital structures. You also can capture up with the ins, outs and evaluation on Sky Sports News.

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