Arsenal are reportedly set to prioritise a move for Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez before pursuing deals for Gabriel Jesus and Raphinha.
The Gunners reportedly had an opening bid for Martinez turned down last week but are confident of striking a deal with the Eredivisie champions to sign the 24-year-old. The news comes after Arsenal completed their second summer signing this week with Porto’s Fabio Vieira joining the club on a long-term deal, which follows the arrival of Brazilian talent Marquinhos.
Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are prioritising a move for Martinez due to his versatility in defence, offering cover at centre-back and left-back.
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So, if Martinez was to make the move to Arsenal in the summer, what sort of impact could he have on Arteta’s side? Could the 24-year-old help the club qualify for the Champions League?
We simulated the 2022/23 season with Martinez in the Arsenal squad and this is what happened.
We ‘signed’ Lisandro Martinez for Arsenal next season
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Martinez to join Arteta’s side at the start of the summer transfer window, using FM22 to run the simulation. This is what Martinez’s in-game profile looks like on FM22.
The 24-year-old has brilliant attributes across the board in terms of his mental, technical and physical attributes. Martinez isn’t the tallest defender around but his Work Rate (15), Marking (15), Strength (13) and Aggression (16) make him a tough defender to play against.
The Argentina international tends to dive into tackles, try long-range passes and brings the ball out of defence, suiting Arteta’s tactics and play style. Martinez is able to offer significant quality and cover in a number of key areas of the pitch, making him an attractive proposition for the Gunners who struggled with injuries to key players such as Ben White and Kieran Tierney last term.
Martinez became a key player under Arteta, playing the majority of his 44 appearances at left centre-back, whilst also covering at left-back when Tierney was rested. The 24-year-old registered just the one assist, but contributed in possession and defensively throughout the season.
Averaging a tackle success rate of 81% and pass completion rate of 94%, Martinez recorded the highest percentages in these areas out of any Arsenal defender. These statistics also show the quality the Argentina international possesses on and off the ball, his ability to recover possession often and bring the ball out of defence to start attacks.
Martinez averaged a match rating of 7.25 across all competitions, suggesting he was a consistent performer in the Gunners’ squad. The Argentinian defender ranked fourth in the squad in terms of match rating, only behind Vieira (7.32), Emile Smith Rowe (7.35) and Bukayo Saka (7.43).
So, how did Arsenal perform in the league and cup competitions after signing Martinez in the summer transfer window? Let’s take a look.
Arsenal’s results from the 2022-23 simulation:
Mikel Arteta’s side finished fourth in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League ahead of north London rivals Tottenham by a single point. The Gunners lost more games than Spurs but were able to finish above the Lilywhites after winning 20 of their 38 games.
Arteta’s side closed the gap to Chelsea and Man City but Liverpool’s spectacular form saw them finish 15 points clear at the top of the table. Compared to the 2021/22 season, Arsenal finished one position higher, with one more point and a better goal difference by +12 with Martinez in the squad. They also conceded 45 goals, three fewer than they did last season.
But Arsenal struggled to perform in the cup competitions after suffering disappointing defeats to Liverpool and Blackburn domestically in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
The Gunners put up a brave fight against European heavyweights Real Madrid in the Europa League, but were narrowly beaten by Los Blancos who found themselves in unfamiliar territory after exiting the Champions League in the group stages.
Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if the Gunners were to sign Lisandro Martinez ahead of the 2022/23 season, he could become a crucial player in Arteta’s squad and claim the starting left centre-back role for himself whilst also covering at left back when required. The 24-year-old’s addition to the squad helped the Gunners qualify for the Champions League, just pipping Spurs to a top four spot but Arsenal were unable to win silverware in Martinez’s debut season at the Emirates.
Would you like to see Lisandro Martinez signfor Arsenal this summer? Let us know in the comments!
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