United legend hails new defensive signing Lisandro Martinez

By Soccer Blog | Jul 30, 2022

Following the arrival of Erik ten Hag as the new Manchester United manager, one area highlighted for improvements was the defence, amidst a profound review of squad capabilities by the Dutchman. Interestingly, the signing of Lisandro Martinez has raised some questioning eyebrows from some English pundits, concerned that his lack of height (he is only 1.75m) may be a weakness in the Premier League.

The deal for Martinez reportedly cost the Red Devils an initial fee of £49 million, plus £8.5 million in add-ons, along with a further £2.2 million in solidarity payments to his former clubs. But given such a significant investment in the 24-year-old, who primarily operated as a central defender under Ten Hag at Ajax, his diminutive stature at 5 feet 9 inches is unusual amongst players in his role. He will wear the No.6 shirt (previously donned by Paul Pogba)

LIM

Typically in the physically demanding English game, central defenders are most commonly tall and stand at more than 6 feet high. Falling somewhat shorter than that, Martinez could be set for a tough time in aerial duels, although Ten Hag seems willing to look beyond that. Instead, the United boss wanted a player who can offer alternative attributes, compared to the options already available in the squad.

But what are these alternative qualities Martinez will bring to the team? Well, former United centre-back Jaap Stam appeared to have all the answers. “He’s a defender that is very easy on the eye and he has that aggressive nature that you expect from an Argentinian defender,” enthused Stam, clearly a fan of the new signing.

“A lot of people will mention his height, and he will lose a few battles in the air, but I think Ten Hag is looking at his versatility,” noted Stam. “Size-wise, he isn’t the tallest, but he makes up with that with his awareness and timing. Despite his size, he wins a lot of headers, which is important, and as a centre-back you don’t need to be big to do well in England, you need to be clever.

Martinez is going to bring a lot of ball-playing ability. A perfect player for the way that Ten Hag wants to play, and he knows exactly what he’s getting from their time together at Ajax,” said Stam. With those words, he was keen to point out what else encouraged the United manager to sign Martinez, clearly a keen admirer of what the Argentina international has to offer.

United have completed three transfers during the summer transfer window. First to arrive was full-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord, believed to have cost around £13 million, with a further £1.7 million due in add-ons. The second arrival was Danish international midfielder Christian Eriksen, who arrived on a free transfer following an impressive 21-22 season at Brentford. Then came the capture of Martinez.

LM

Of course, the biggest challenge for Ten Hag will be forming a cohesive team, capable of genuinely challenging for top honours, although there is an acceptance that some time will be needed for this new project. Further signings will be needed and although more transfers could be realised before the deadline on 1st September, there is almost a sense of inevitability that it could take another two or three windows, before the Dutch coach is entirely happy with his squad. Eredivisie signings haven’t exactly hit the ground running in the Prem in recent years either, which will be a slight worry for United fans.

Heading into the 2022-23 campaign, while fans will be hoping the team is capable of winning silverware, challenging for the Premier League title seems unlikely. Comparing the odds requires considerable research and focus– some lesser-known ones might have offer enticing odds, only to ditch you come payout time. It is why SBO has become a popular source of information, reviewing and rating online bookmakers based upon various factors including markets available.

Insofar as the outright markets are concerned, even with the quality signings made by Manchester United thus far, they aren’t even considered to be amongst the top four Premier League winner candidates. Just finishing within the top four will be the immediate challenge for Ten Hag and his team, not to mention the minimum expectation for a club of this reputation and stature. Liverpool & City both continue to look strong, while Chelsea, with their ownership problems settled, and Spurs, under Antonio Conte, will also be competitive.

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