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Arsenal handed boost over Man Utd in Martinez pursuit due to ‘physical’ concern

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Arsenal may have been handed a clear path to signing Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez this summer, amid reported interest from Premier League rivals Manchester United. The 24-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to both sides this summer, having impressed in the Eredivisie.

It comes as the Gunners continue to ramp up their efforts to strengthen during the current transfer window. Mikel Arteta guided his side to fifth last season, missing out on a return to the Champions League, which will be his aim for the upcoming campaign.

Fabio Vieira was one of the first through the door at the Emirates, but director and former midfielder Edu has suggested that the deals won’t stop there. He told the official Arsenal website: “We will now continue to work hard and are looking forward to finishing this transfer window as strongly possible.”

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One of the areas that the side have been linked with improving is in defence, most notably on the left-hand side. Quality cover for Gabriel may be required, given the increase in fixtures coming up, as well as depth for Kieran Tierney, who struggled with injury during the previous season.

A number of options were trialled in the Scotsman’s absence, such as youngster Nuno Tavares, Granit Xhaka and even Cedric Soares. However, none of them were able to provide the same sort of presence in that time.

That is where Martinez has appeared as an option for the Gunners, able to play at both centre-back and left-back. A reported bid has been turned down from Ajax, with Manchester United also said to be interested in a move, due to links with former boss Erik ten Hag.

However, that path may have become clear, as The Athletic’s David Ornstein suggests that the Red Devils aren’t convinced on a move for the Argentina international. Talking to Hayters TV, he said: “He’s [Martinez] a player that Mikel Arteta wants to sign. Arsenal have had an approach worth around €30m rejected by Ajax, that interest will not drop.

“The question is: Who else is interested in him? Of course, he’s played for Erik ten Hag in the past, and there are reports Erik ten Hag would like to bring him to United now

“The problem is that Manchester United are focusing on Frenkie de Jong and Christian Eriksen, there may also be concerns if Lisandro Martinez is tall enough for the left centre-back role because I don’t know of Manchester United looking to do what Arsenal would like, which is to use him at left-back as well.

“As things stand, I think Arsenal is the most probable destination for Lisandro Martinez, who is said to be keen on a move but this could have twists and turns with a number of clubs admiring such a good player.”

It remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached between Arsenal and Ajax for the defender, but if a bidding war was to break out, it would likely make it a tougher move to negotiate.

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