I’m leaving, I can sign for Arsenal. But if you want me I’ll go to Man Utd: Erik ten Hag reveals Lisandro Martinez’ phone call robbed Mikel Arteta of his ‘top priority’ by signing a £55m deal
- Erik ten Hag claims that Lisandro Martinez was set to join Arsenal over the summer
- Martinez followed Ten Hag’s example to Manchester United after his £55m signing from Ajax
- The defender called his old boss to explain he was close to signing for Arsenal
- But after indicating his preference for joining United, Ten Hag executed the deal
- Since then he has become one of the most important players in the Dutchman
Erik ten Hag has opened up the call to Lisandro Martinez that helped Manchester United hijack Arsenal’s summer move for the defender.
Martinez, who played a key part in Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory, followed Ten Hag to United in July after completing a £55m transfer from Ajax.
His first few outings with the club did not go to plan, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher insisting the 5ft 7in center back would never blossom as part of a four-man Premier League defense following the 4-1 defeat away at Brentford. . .
Erik ten Hag (right) revealed the call to Lisandro Martinez (left) that got him to Manchester United.
Martinez called Ten Hag to explain that he was close to signing Mikel Arteta for Arsenal
However, since those comments, Martinez has left Carragher blushing by getting back on his feet in Manchester and putting in a number of impressive performances before helping Argentina win the World Championship.
He is now one of the first names in Ten Hag’s squad at Old Trafford, which will prove to be a huge disappointment for Arsenal after they missed out on signing him last summer.
During an interview with Dutch football magazine Voetbal International, Ten Hag revealed how Martinez called him to explain that he was close to joining Mikel Arteta’s side, but would prefer to join him at United if the opportunity arose.
The Dutchman said: “Did you find it difficult to keep Martinez away from Ajax? I had a good time there, how we lived the process together. From scratch, Ajax took us back to the European top. This project was very dear to me.
Ten Hag says the Argentine told him he would prefer to go to United if there was a chance
Martínez was then said to have called Arteta to let him know he would not be joining
This freed him to complete a £55m transfer to Old Trafford and reunited him with Ten Hag.
But Martinez himself wanted to leave Ajax anyway. If we hadn’t taken him, he would have gone to Arsenal.
They wanted him anyway, he was top priority there. Licha called me at one point: “Coach, listen, I’m leaving Ajax anyway. I can sign for Arsenal, but if you want me, I’ll go to Manchester United.”
Then I thought: I shouldn’t be shooting myself and United either. He really wasn’t staying in Amsterdam, that was out of the question. Then we hit it off and it all worked out.
Arsenal had been frontrunners in keeping Martinez away from Ajax before United entered the race, and after opting to reunite with Ten Hag in Manchester the player is said to have contacted Arteta to inform him of his decision.
Journalist Ben Jacobs revealed on The Football Terrace that he had contacted Arteta personally to let the Spaniard know he would not be heading to Arsenal, who instead brought William Saliba back into the first-team ranks after a loan spell at Marseille.
Martinez overcame a rocky start at United and is now one of Teen Hag’s most trusted stars
He recently got his hands on the World Cup after helping Argentina to victory in Qatar
Arsenal enjoyed a stronger start to the season, picking up 37 points from a possible 42 to move Manchester City five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
United, meanwhile, sit 11 points behind them in fifth after winning eight of their 14 points this season.
Martinez participated in two matches and came off the bench three times in Argentina’s successful run at the World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking ahead of United’s return to competitive play on Wednesday night with the visit of Burnley, Scott McTominay revealed his teammate’s response to his text after his win.
“I messaged Lisandro the other day and said congratulations,” McTominay said. “We’re going to the next one,” he said. He just won the World Cup, and that shows the mentality in the group.
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