Erik ten Hag snubbed Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly and five others to sign Lisandro Martinez at Manchester United
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag snubbed Chelsea star Kalidou Koulibaly and five other defenders to sign Lisandro Martinez in the previous transfer window, according to The Times (Subscription Required) [h/t Metro],
The Red Devils were keen on adding a new centre-back to the squad in the summer of 2022. As a result, a seven-man shortlist was presented to the Dutch manager.
Apart from the Blues’ Senegalese star, Villarreal’s Pau Torres, RB Leipzig and Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol and Inter Milan’s Alessandro Bastoni were on the Old Trafford side’s radar.
However, in the end, Ten Hag opted against the others and pursued to get a hold of Martinez. United paid £57 million to get the 24-year-old from Ajax.
Initially, there were doubts about the Argentina international. Defeats to Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford at the start of the season did not help his cause.
However, since being paired up with Raphael Varane, Martinez has been a revelation at the Old Trafford side. The France and Argentina internationals have formed a solid partnership in the Red Devils; backline.
The 24-year-old was also with his national side in Qatar. While the centre-back did not start regularly, he did play a key role for Lionel Scaloni’s team as they listed the 2022 World Cup title.
As for Koulibaly, his move from Napoli to Chelsea has been underwhelming for now. The Senegal international has struggled at the Stamford Bridge side. Graham Potter’s team have not been at their best, winning just once in their last nine PL fixtures.
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As for United, Ten Hag has turned things around after a shaky start to his tenure. Martinez has been an important part of the Dutch manager’s plans. In the end, it was wise for the club to listen to the gaffer and sign the Argentine.