The deal to bring Ajax defender and Argentina international Lisandro Martinez to Manchester United, who is known as the “Butcher of Amsterdam,” has been finalised. So, what might one anticipate from them?
The 24-year-old forward, who was a member of Erik ten Hag’s Ajax team when it won two Dutch titles in three years and is currently the club’s player of the year, will accompany the boss to Old Trafford.
In spite of the fact that he is just 5 feet 9 inches tall, he won more aerial duels in the league than Harry Maguire did the previous year and won possession of the ball more often than any United defender.
Martinez’s statistics hold their own when compared to those of his new teammates, although it is important to note that Martinez played in the Dutch Eredivisie, which is the seventh-ranked league in Europe according to Uefa.
He played the entire 2018–19 season at the centre of the defence, but in his first two seasons at Ajax after making the switch from Argentina in 2019, he saw action at both full back positions and as a defensive midfielder. He played the entire 2018–19 season at the centre of the defence.
Martinez finished the previous season with a better league ranking than any of United’s other defensive players per 90 minutes played in terms of passes, forward passes, aerial duels won, interceptions, and possessions won. Additionally, he was successful in more tackles and completed a significant number of dribbles than United’s centre backs.
Martinez nevertheless managed to win 80 aerial duels to Maguire’s 75, despite the fact that Martinez is seven inches shorter than Maguire and had played in six fewer league games due to injury.
James Rowe, a football specialist from the Netherlands, said: “Martinez has made quite an impression in Amsterdam since his move to Ajax from Defensa y Justicia, and he hit the ground running by being a part of the team that won the 2019 Johan Cruyff Shield by a score of 2-0 over PSV. Martinez was a part of the team that won the match.
“His vast range of passing, his self-assurance in the middle of the defence, and his ability to maintain his cool on the ball were the first things that stood out.
“Martinez feels as though he has truly established a home away from home in Amsterdam. The move from South American football to Dutch football, with all of the cultural changes that come along with it both on and off the field, is not an easy one, but Lisandro has managed to take everything in stride. In 2019, he made his debut for his country in a match against Venezuela, which concluded in him being given a national cap.
“He walks away from Ajax with his chin held high, having won two Eredivisie titles and one Dutch Cup, as well as the affection of Ajax supporters.
“Because Ten Hag has always had such faith in him, he will play a significant role in his decision to transfer to United. Ten Hag wants his players to always look for ways to solve problems out on the field so that they have the best chance possible to win games, and he is currently in the process of recruiting a centre back who will do just that.
“Some people may point out that he is just 5 feet 9 inches tall, but he will easily adjust to the requirements of the Premier League, and he will appreciate the challenge that it presents. In addition to this, the young kid from Gualeguay who made his debut at Newell’s Old Boys after coming up through the club’s youth programme and is now playing in the Premier League will feel an immense amount of pleasure at having achieved this goal.
As a defender, I have no doubt that he will continue to improve, both at the club level and the international level.
Martinez had a hand in four goals for United, scoring one and assisting on three others. This was the most goals involved by any United defender.
In spite of his nickname, he received only six yellow cards over the entirety of the 2017–18 season across all competitions. This was fewer than Luke Shaw (11), Maguire (nine), and Diogo Dalot (six), who all played 36 games. In contrast, Raphael Varane was only arrested once throughout this time period.