Man Utd already working on fourth and fifth signings as Lisandro Martinez deal confirmed | Football | Sport
Lisandro Martinez is a Manchester United player at long last – but Erik ten Hag’s side aren’t done there. Express Sport understands the club are continuing to work on a deal for Frenkie de Jong, while they’re also still holding out hope of bringing Antony to Old Trafford. Deals for the pair won’t be straightforward, however.
Manchester United’s first signing of the Ten Hag era was Tyrell Malacia, with the left-back moving from Feyenoord to provide competition for Luke Shaw.
Then, earlier in the week, the Red Devils confirmed Eriksen’s arrival.
And United have now stated they’ve agreed a fee with Ajax for Martinez, who is set to earn £120,000-a-week at his new club. They said in a statement: “Manchester United is delighted to announce the club has reached an agreement with Ajax for the transfer of Argentine international defender Lisandro Martinez, subject to medical, to player terms being finalised, and to UK visa requirements.”
He will move for an overall fee of around £55m, once bonuses are included.
The Argentina international will offer a different profile to the likes of Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly.
And the 24-year-old’s versatility will come in handy, too, with Martinez also capable of playing in midfield.
Now, United will work to add more players to their squad.
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They want to land De Jong, with the Barcelona star currently in the United States for the Catalan giants’ pre-season tour.
United had, previously, been hopeful of landing De Jong in time for the start of the new Premier League season.
But with complexities over a deal arising, the Red Devils are willing to play a waiting game as they seek to bring the 25-year-old to Old Trafford.
United have agreed a fee with Barcelona for De Jong, with Ten Hag’s side willing to pay an initial £63million to get the player in.
Yet the Netherlands international would still prefer to stay at the Nou Camp, despite often struggling for consistency under Xavi, Ronald Koeman, Quique Setien and Ernesto Valverde.
There have been murmurings in Catalonia that De Jong flatly has no interest in joining United.
But reports on these shores have said otherwise, insisting the 25-year-old is ‘willing’ to make a move.
One thing holding up a deal for De Jong is wages owed to the player by his current employers.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic just over two years ago, De Jong agreed to take a pay cut.
And Barcelona now owe him £17m in deferred wages, though the La Liga giants are presently reluctant to cough up the cash.
A second player United want to bring in is Antony.
The Brazil international has drawn comparisons with Neymar during his time in Amsterdam, establishing himself as one of European football’s hottest talents.
Antony scored eight goals and clocked up four assists from 23 Eredivisie appearances last term.
And he believes now is the right time to move to Old Trafford, especially in the wake of Ten Hag’s appointment.
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The problem is, though, that Ajax are reluctant to lose another one of their prized assets.
Martinez has already been allowed to move to United, with the Argentina international previously being a key figure for the Dutch side throughout his three years on their books.
And Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch have both moved to the Bundesliga with reigning champions Bayern Munich.
Ajax want around £70m to part ways with Antony, believing that high price tag is justified.
And if United do agree to stump up the cash, then he’d become their fifth most-expensive signing of all time.
Paul Pogba remains their costliest recruit, costing a massive £89m upon moving from Juventus back in the summer transfer window of 2016.
Harry Maguire cost £80m after touching down from Leicester, while Romelu Lukaku joined from Everton for £75m in 2017.
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And, just last summer, United spent an eye-watering £73m on bringing in Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund.
Meanwhile, in other United news, club captain Harry Maguire has insisted he and his team-mates are putting in the graft as they look to win Ten Hag round.
“Last year was disappointing,” said Maguire.
“As an individual I didn’t play well and as a team we certainly didn’t play well.
“But a good career can last 10 to 15 years and you’re never going to have every year where it’s plain sailing and you don’t have any difficulties.
“You’re going to have to fight, you’re going to have setbacks and last year was certainly a set back for myself on my career path.
“But it’s behind us now, we look forward to the future and getting this club back to winning trophies, which is what it’s all about.”
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