Jaap Stam tips Lisandro Martinez for position change at Man Utd

Jaap Stam has revealed he believes Lisandro Martinez could be used in a defensive midfield role under Erik ten Hag if he signs for Manchester United.

Martinez is one of the Red Devils’ main transfer targets this summer as they look to improve under their new manager following a poor 2021/22 season.

90min understands United have seen a bid potentially worth €45m turned down by Ajax, who want the Premier League side to up their cash offer to €50m with further add-ons and bonus payments.

While Martinez played in central defence exclusively last season as Ajax won the Eredivisie title, Stam has claimed he could be used in a different position at Old Trafford.

“You can see that Ten Hag’s approach is clearly to dominate games and to control the opponent’s half,” Stam said. “When you play with a lot of space in the back and you need players who are reasonably fast and not afraid to cover. Tyrell Malacia has that and Martinez certainly does.

“The fact that Ten Hag wants to reunite with Martinez, a Copa America winner, has to do with his footballing qualities. Martinez is very skilled and creative in his passing. The more players he has like that, the more Ten Hag can keep the ball and the less counters they’ll face.

“What is also important for that, especially in the strongest league in the world, is communication and who he might be paired with at the heart of the defence. But because Martinez is comfortable on the ball he can also play in front of the defence. And I don’t rule out that Ten Hag will use him there.”

Martinez is well known for his aggressive defending and ease with the ball at his feet, with Stam revealing he has become a fan of the Argentine and believes he can succeed at United.

“In the past, defenders in England could not be big enough,” Stam added. “Two metres tall was good and the ability to head balls away. Now most clubs and managers want to play football from the back. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to defend there. You still have to defend well and Martinez does.

Listen now to 90min’s Talking Transfers podcast, with Scott Saunders, Graeme BaileyHarry Symeou Toby Cudworth. On the latest show they discuss Cristiano Ronaldo’s future at Manchester United, Newcastle preparing to break their transfer record for Moussa Diaby, Bayern Munich’s interest in Chelsea target Matthijs de Ligt and more. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

“There are a lot of fast attackers who are merciless in counters. So what is important is that a defender is smart and clever. He must quickly read the game, where balls are coming from and give a little shove or push before the ball is there. Then you don’t need to get into duels. Martinez has developed that as well.

“I have become a fan of his. I think he’s a fantastic guy with a good temperament and winning mentality. For managers, those are nice players to work with.”

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