Some days, it seems, I don’t know which I’ve waited longer for, Neil Young to release his long-shelved and mythical album, Toast, or Manchester United to make their first signing under Erik ten Hag (clue - it’s Neil Young, Toast dates back to 2001, but, come on, it’s sure felt close at times this summer, hasn’t it?) Well, now, like buses and insults, several of the things on my wish list have come along at once.
‘The Butcher’, they call him. The name is almost enough to make it worth buying him on its own. Now Manchester United are in the driving seat to sign Lisandro Martínez from ETH’s former club, Ajax. Arsenal had previously had a bid of £37 million accepted and seemed also to agree personal terms with the player, now United have matched the Gunners in both. It just remains for Martínez to decide which wagon he wants to hitch his ride to. Currently on holiday, he has already made clear to Ajax his desire to play in the Premier League. He has not yet announced his decision as to with which team, seeing both teams as fitting his style of play, but it is hoped his previous success winning titles under ten Hag and their close relationship during their time together at the club, will help sway the decision in United’s favour.
Arsenal scheduled to meet Ajax next week as Lisandro Martinez battle continues. #AFC + #MUFC both think he’s keen & personal terms no issue. If Ajax get what they want (~€50m fixed), 24yo must pick. Ten Hag factor key but race still open @TheAthleticUK https://t.co/aqnwpOK3yH— David Ornstein (@David_Ornstein) July 2, 2022
Primarily a left sided central defender, the 24-year-old Argentinian international can also play as a left back or even as a holding midfielder, something which he did with aplomb numerous times for the current Dutch champions. His signing would likely spell the end at United for one of, if not both, Victor Lindeloff and Eric Bailly (presumably Bailly, as Fulham have already made contact regarding his availability). Phil Jones would also fall even further down the pecking order and, one would have to think, out of the door.
Versatile and good on the ball, Martinez, when added to the signing of Tyrell Malacia, begins to make clearer ETH’s plans; namely, a more mobile defence, capable of getting both up and down the field at will. No wonder excitement is, finally, starting to take root among the Old Trafford faithful.
Personally, and for a number of reasons, I want Argentina to win the World Cup this November (Messi deserves it, I’ve historically loved the team’s style of play, it would be a fitting way to honour Maradona, also, you know, the country and its people are cool). It would certainly be great to have a Manchester United player in the ranks to cheer on. And who knows, maybe even two if Alejandro Garnacho can make the final squad – now that would be something.
Two signings this weekend would be manna from heaven for us beleaguered Reds fans, and they would both be outstanding signings at that. Certainly, it would be great to have them in the squad before flying out to Thailand to begin the club’s preseason tour on the 8th of July. Let’s see what happens. Feel free to make yourselves a drink while we wait.
Me? I’m off to make some Toast.