Arsenal ‘still very invested’ in signing key defensive transfer target despite fierce competition from Man Utd

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Can Arsenal keep up with Man Utd in the race to sign Ajax star Lisandro Martinez?

Arsenal are still hopeful of tying up a deal for Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez — but continue to face competition from Manchester United, who are also thought to be confident of securing his services.

With all the talk of Arsenal’s pressing need for a centre forward, which they have since solved with the signing of Gabriel Jesus, a quick look at the squad reveals a pressing need for reinforcements in other areas.

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One of those is at left back, where the Gunners’ first choice, Kieran Tierney, has struggled with injury throughout his time in North London. Nuno Tavares was called upon to deputise numerous times during his first season at the club but has infamously struggled at times, likely owing to his lack of experience.

It’s for this reason that Arteta is said to be content with allowing the Portuguese to leave on loan this summer, so long as it doesn’t leave Arsenal short. All of this considered, it’s no surprise that

The Gunners have been pushing to secure the signature of Lisandro Martinez since the window opened.

A combative player who is comfortable on the ball, Martinez’s versatility — in that he is comfortable playing at not only left back but centre half and in central midfield, too — makes him an attractive option. It is thought that the left side of defence is where Arteta sees him as being the best fit.

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The Arsenal boss was very open at the back end of last season about his insistence on having “two top quality players per position” to help avoid the situation his side found themselves in at the tail end of the campaign, when injuries left them crying out for quality replacements.

While the Gunners have been determined to get business done early and were initially very confident of wrapping up a deal for the Ajax defender, it is thought that Manchester United have since strengthened their interest and now believe they are well placed to complete a deal, owing in particular to the player’s history with Erik Ten Hag.

On the Arsenal side, the club are at this moment still very invested in bringing the player to North London, which signals a feeling of optimism which remains around the deal.

The two enjoyed a mixed relationship in the Netherlands, with many Ajax fans bewildered by the manager’s initial reluctance to give Martinez the minutes they thought he deserved.

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Towards the end of Ten Hag’s reign, however, he relied on the Argentinian far more - and it’s felt that with the right assurances, Manchester United could be well placed to sign him. At this time, neither club has agreed a deal with Ajax or personal terms with Martinez.

One thing that’s certain is that the player is intent on a Premier League switch this summer and while both clubs fancy their chances of landing him, it will likely come down to who can strike a deal first.

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