Ten Hag reveals Man Utd signing ‘would have gone to Arsenal’ if Old Trafford move had collapsed

Date published: Wednesday 21st December 2022 12:28 - Joe Williams

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag looks into the camera

Erik ten Hag claims Lisandro Martinez would’ve signed for Arsenal had he not moved to Man Utd in the summer transfer window.

There were rumours in the summer that both the Red Devils and Gunners were interested in the Argentina international but reportedly Man Utd were prepared to pay more to land the centre-back,

Martinez eventually completed a move from Dutch giants Ajax to Man Utd in a transfer that could cost the Red Devils as much as £57m after add-ons.

He has been a success so far at Old Trafford despite some pundits doubting his ability to handle big Premier League strikers because of his 5ft 9in frame.

Martinez once again made his critics look silly by helping Argentina win the World Cup after they beat France in a penalty shootout in Sunday’s final.

And Ten Hag insists that Martinez was always destined to leave Ajax in the summer with Arsenal the next in the queue for his signature.

“Whether I found it difficult to take Martínez away from Ajax?” Ten Hag told Voetbal International.

“I had such a nice time there, how we experienced the process there together. From nothing, we brought Ajax back to the European top. That project has been so dear to me.

“But Martínez 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 with Arsenal, but if you want me, I’ll go to Manchester United.’

“Then I thought: I shouldn’t shoot myself and United in the foot either. There was no way he would have stayed in Amsterdam, which was out of the question.”

Man Utd midfielder Scott McTominay has revealed the elite mentality of Ten Hag’s squad after Martinez sent him a text after his World Cup triumph.

McTominay told United’s official website: “It’s a good question. I feel like the prime years in football are – it depends on how you look after yourself – but from 26 to 32, in my opinion anyway.

“I feel like the game’s going that way with the longevity and stuff like that. Success will always be winning trophies and that’s the most important thing at this football club.

“With the manager that we’ve got now, we’ve got a really good opportunity to start that journey, especially this year.

“We’ve got a really good chance to implement ourselves and really start pushing. I feel like this is the year where we can go for it and that’s firmly reiterated by all the coaches in the squad. They firmly believe that.

“I messaged Lisandro the other day and said congratulations and he said: ‘We go for the next one’.

“He’s just won a World Cup, so that shows the mentality that is in the group.”

READ MORE: Mediawatch: When Erik ten Hag issues ‘brutal home truths’ that are nothing of the sort


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