Agent explains why Arsenal missed out on Man United’s £57m star Lisandro Martinez

Erik ten Hag’s presence at Manchester United played an ‘important role’ in sealing a transfer from Lisandro Martinez to Old Trafford instead of Premier League rivals Arsenal, agent Bas Schothorst tells Voetbal Primeur.

The Argentine’s first goal as a Man United player was typical of the man.

A black-eyed bandaged Martinez firing a diving header into the Arsenal net before celebrating with a two-footed lunge; you could hardly have imagined a more fitting way for this most instant cult hero to open his United account.

Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Unfortunately for Martinez, that almost Van Persie-esque finish mattered little by the time the full-time blew in the capital. Eddie Nketiah’s dramatic late winner hands a resurgent Man United their first Premier League defeat in nearly four months.

Arsenal tried to sign Martinez ahead of his £57 million move to the North West last summer, although a first league title in nearly 20 decades would be some consolation.

Manchester United defeated Arsenal against Argentina’s World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez

“(Martinez’s departure) was a process of several months. We had contact with several top clubs and in the end Ten Hag’s presence at United played an important role,” says Schothorst, one of the World Cup winners’ representatives.

“That makes sense. Ten Hag knows him, has worked with him (at Ajax) and knows what he can do with Martinez. It is of course great to see that this leads to his current performance.

“On the other hand, Arsenal is also a great club. But you have to make a choice. It’s difficult.”

Ten Hag himself admitted in December that Martinez was a “priority for Arsenal” last summer. The Gunners bid £26m and £34m before being outbid by their old rivals from the north (The Sun).

Arguably Man United’s most complete and popular centre-back in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, suggestions that Martinez was simply ‘too small’ for the Premier League have been emphatically refuted. What the 5ft 7ins Martinez lacks in height he more than makes up for in heart.

That salmon-like jump certainly helps, too.

“He has shown that you can get very far with a certain mentality,” adds Schothorst. “He is now even showing that in the Premier League and at the World Cup. Everyone thought; ‘a 1.78m central defender in the Premier League? That is not possible!’

“But he proves that that is nonsense. He more than makes up for (his lack of height) with his attitude.”

Arsenal, meanwhile, have ended their search for a left-footed central defender by signing Poland international Jakub Kiwior from Spezia.

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

In other news, ‘The way he’s thinking’: Ian Wright says Arsenal ace may be on another level mentally now

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