Lisandro Martinez is in England for a medical, prior to a potential £46 million transfer to Manchester United. A new center-back was one of Erik ten Hag’s top priorities this summer, and Martinez will join left-back Tyrell Malacia and midfielder Christian Eriksen as the Reds’ third additions to the squad.
Martinez can play other positions outside of center back, albeit that is his primary position. The Argentine has also acted as a holding midfielder and left defender in the past.
Here are three ways United could utilise the defender next season:
- Martinez in central defence
The most obvious role for Martinez next season would be as part of a defensive partnership with either Harry Maguire or Raphael Varane.
In an ideal world, it would be alongside Varane, but given his worrying injury record, it might be more likely that we see him play alongside the current club captain.
Ten Hag is keen Martinez because he is left-footed and has a great passing range to help them play out from the back, so it makes sense to stick him in the squad as the left-sided central defender.
- Martinez at full-back
Versatility is a big advantage for Martinez and he also has the possibility of filling in at left-back if required, though that seems a rather unlikely outcome amid Malacia’s arrival.
Martinez could be viewed as the third-choice left-back if Alvaro Fernandez leaves on loan this summer and Alex Telles is sold, so he could still get the occasional appearance there.
It is more likely those minutes would come as part of a tactical switch during a match rather than being chosen to play there from the start, but it is certainly a good trait to have.
- Martinez in defensive midfield
Perhaps the most exciting possibility is Martinez being able to address United’s need for a defensive midfielder this summer, having gained some valuable experience playing there under Ten Hag at Ajax.
The 24-year-old is by no means the established midfield anchor that many supporters are hoping for, but he could do a job there if nobody else is recruited.
Martinez made 22 appearances playing there for Ajax, all in the curtailed 2019/20 season, and he could be the perfect accompaniment to Frenkie de Jong and Bruno Fernandes as part of a midfield trio.