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'Martinez would have gone to Arsenal' - Ten Hag explains how Man Utd beat the Gunners in race for Argentine defender

16:00 GMT+3 21/12/2022
Lisandro Martinez Manchester United Liverpool 2022-23
Erik ten Hag has explained how Manchester United beat Arsenal to the signature of Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez in the summer transfer window.
  • Lisandro Martinez could have joined Arsenal
  • Defender pushed for Man United move
  • Martinez reunited with former coach Ten Hag

WHAT HAPPENED? Martinez completed a big-money move to United from Ajax in July, reuniting with Ten Hag in the process. The Dutch manager had swapped Johan Cruijff ArenA for Old Trafford two months prior, at which point Martinez was still mulling over his options. Ten Hag has now confirmed that the Argentina international was all set to join Arsenal before reaching out to him about potentially joining United instead.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to Dutch publication Voetbal International, Ten Hag revealed: "Martinez himself wanted to leave Ajax. 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: 'Trainer, listen, I'm leaving Ajax anyway. I can sign with Arsenal, but if you want me, I'm going to Manchester United'. I thought I shouldn't shoot myself and United in the foot. He really wouldn't stay in Amsterdam, that was out of the question. Then we struck and it all worked out."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: While there were question marks around the centre-back's 5'9 height when he first arrived in the Premier League, the defender has grown into a solid performer for the Red Devils. Martinez is now determined to win a trophy with United in his first season following his World Cup heroics with Argentina in Qatar.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT FOR MARTINEZ AND UNITED? While Martinez continues to celebrate Argentina's World Cup triumph in his homeland, his club team-mates at United are back in action on Wednesday night when they take on Burnley in the League Cup.