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Erik ten Hag claims Lisandro Martinez would have joined Arsenal if not for Man United move

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‘I’m leaving, I can sign for Arsenal. But in case you want me I’ll go to Man United’: Erik ten Hag reveals the phone call from Lisandro Martinez that robbed Mikel Arteta of his ‘top priority’ signing in a £55m deal

  • Erik ten Hag claims Lisandro Martinez was set to hitch Arsenal over the summer
  • Martinez followed Ten Hag to Man United after sealing a £55m move from Ajax
  • The defender called his old boss to elucidate he was near signing for Arsenal
  • But after indicating his preference to hitch United, Ten Hag made the deal occur
  • He has since gone on to develop into one in all the Dutchman’s most significant players 

Erik ten Hag has opened up on the phone call with Lisandro Martinez which helped Manchester United hijack Arsenal’s move for the defender in the summertime.

Martinez, who played a key role in Argentina’s triumph on the 2022 World Cup, followed Ten Hag to United in July after completing a £55million switch from Ajax. 

His first few outings for the club didn’t go to plan, with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher insisting the 5ft 7in centre-back would never flourish as a part of a four-man defence within the Premier League after a 4-1 defeat away at Brentford.

Ten Hag brought the former Ajax defender with him to Old Trafford

Erik ten Hag (R) has revealed the decision with Lisandro Martinez (L) that brought him to Man United

Martinez called Ten Hag to explain he was on the verge of signing for Mikel Arteta's Arsenal

Martinez called Ten Hag to elucidate he was on the verge of signing for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal

Yet since those comments, Martinez has left Carragher red-faced by finding his feet in Manchester and producing plenty of superb displays before helping Argentina develop into world champions. 

He’s now one in all the primary names on Ten Hag’s team sheet at Old Trafford, which can come as an enormous frustration to 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 elucidate that he was near joining Mikel Arteta’s side, but would favor to hitch him at United if the chance arose. 

The Dutchman said: ‘Whether I discovered it difficult to get Martínez away from Ajax? I had such a great time there, how we experienced the method together. From scratch we brought Ajax back to the European top. That project has been so dear to me.

Ten Hag says the Argentine told him he would prefer to head to United if the chance was there

Ten Hag says the Argentine told him he would favor to move to United if the prospect was there

Martinez is then said to have got in contact with Arteta to let him know he would not be joining

Martinez is then said to have gotten in touch with Arteta to let him know he wouldn’t be joining

That freed him up to complete a £55million switch to Old Trafford and reunite with Ten Hag

That freed him up to finish a £55million switch to Old Trafford and reunite with Ten Hag

‘But Martínez himself wanted to depart 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: “Trainer, listen, I’m leaving Ajax anyway. I can sign with Arsenal, but in case you want me, I will Manchester United.” 

‘Then I assumed: I shouldn’t shoot myself and United within the foot either. He really hadn’t stayed in Amsterdam, that was out of the query. Then we struck and all of it worked out.’

Arsenal were the frontrunners to prise Martinez away from Ajax before United entered the race, and after selecting to reunite with Ten Hag in Manchester the player is alleged to have called Arteta to tell him of his decision.

Journalist Ben Jacobs revealed on The Football Terrace that he got in touch with Arteta personally to let the Spaniard know he wouldn’t be heading to Arsenal, who as an alternative brought William Saliba back into their first-team fold after a loan spell at Marseille.

Martinez overcame a difficult start at United and is now one of Ten Hag's most trusted stars

Martinez overcame a difficult start at United and is now one in all Ten Hag’s most trusted stars

He recently got his hands on the World Cup after helping Argentina prevail out in Qatar

He recently got his hands on the World Cup after helping Argentina prevail out in Qatar

The Gunners have enjoyed the stronger begin to the season, taking 37 points from a possible 42 to steer Manchester City by five points at the highest of the Premier League.

United, meanwhile, sit 11 points behind them in fifth after winning eight out of 14 this season.

Martinez began two games and got here off the bench 3 times in Argentina’s successful run on the World Cup in Qatar.

Speaking ahead of United’s return to competitive motion on Wednesday night with the visit of Burnley, Scott McTominay revealed his team-mate’s response to his text following their victory. 

‘I messaged Lisandro the opposite day and said congratulations,’ said McTominay. ‘He said “we go for the subsequent one”. He’s just won a World Cup, in order that shows the mentality that’s within the group.’

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