Arsenal intended to sign Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez as a left-back, as they had concerns over his size as a centre-back.
One of the early transfer sagas of the summer window was Arsenal and Manchester United’s pursuit of then-Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez.
Both clubs placed bids, but Arsenal pulled out of the race and signed Oleksandr Zinchenko instead. Meanwhile, United ended up paying €57.37m (£48.94m) for Martinez, with additional bonuses bringing the potential total fee to €67.37m (£57.47m).
David Ornstein reported at the time that Arsenal didn’t feel Martinez was value for money at that price.
But other than the financial side, another difference in Arsenal and United’s approaches was where they planned to use him.
The Athletic report that Arsenal intended to use Martinez at left-back, holding concerns over whether a player of his size could thrive in the middle of a Premier League defence.
United clearly didn’t hold the same reservations, as they’ve immediately thrown the summer signing into their starting lineup.
But with their awful start to the season and Brentford’s third goal in particular (where Ben Mee scored a header from above Martinez), that decision has been called into question.
From Ajax’s side, reporters are starting to suggest United’s offer was just too good to turn down, as they were surprised to receive such a large bid.
“When the €57M/€67M offer came in, they believed it was totally irresponsible not to accept it,” Mike Verweij said. “Within Ajax, they were completely surprised that such a gigantic offer was being placed.”
It’s worth pointing out that it’s easy for everyone to pile in when things are going badly.
If Martinez has a good game against Liverpool and helps United keep a clean sheet, we probably won’t hear so much about what a great deal Ajax got, or why Arsenal were right to pass on signing him.
Until that happens, however, he’s inevitably going to remain under the spotlight.