Man Utd trusted Erik ten Hag over their recruitment department when deciding on a new centre-back this summer, according to reports.
The Red Devils reached an agreement with Dutch side Ajax on Sunday for Argentina international Lisandro Martinez in a deal worth up to £55.3m.
Martinez will become United’s third signing of the summer transfer window after completing deals for Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia and free agent Christian Eriksen earlier this month.
Man Utd warded off interest from fellow Premier League club Arsenal as Ten Hag adds Martinez to Harry Maguire, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones in his centre-back department.
But the Red Devils could’ve had a different centre-back at the club this summer if they’d listened to their recruitment department, with Villarreal defender Pau Torres top of their recommendations.
‘United’s recruitment department had recommended a move for Pau Torres, of Villarreal, but the club have opted to back Ten Hag’s judgement after he pushed for Martinez, his former player at Ajax. The Dutch manager had also been interested in Ajax’s Jurrien Timber. ‘
After hearing that a deal was close to be completed, former Man Utd defender Rio Ferdinand admitted he was getting more and more excited about the transfer.
“The more I’ve looked into him and the vibes and the stories I’m hearing and the mutterings from different people – it gets better,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
“I listened to an interview with Jurrien Timber, the young player that United were looking to sign, the centre back Martinez played alongside at Ajax.
“He was saying, ‘When I’m not on my game and a bit out of concentration, Martinez always shouts at me, he always swears at me in in his language and gets me going.’
“I’ve been shouting about the character element for a long time and from what I’m hearing from various people, Timber being one of them, is that he has the character.
“He’s a leader. He [makes] demands of other people and he’s somebody who wants to get physical and very aggressive but who can also play.”