Manchester United are reportedly set to battle Arsenal for the signing of Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez this summer.
Erik ten Hag has labelled Martinez as an ‘excellent player’ in the past and is rumoured to be interested in bringing the Argentina international across to Old Trafford. Martinez is a versatile defender with the ability to play at centre-back, left-back and defensive midfield.
A number of Ajax players have been linked with a move to United this summer, following their former boss Ten Hag, including Antony, Jurrien Timber and Martinez. Christian Eriksen and Frenkie de Jong have also been targeted by the Reds as Ten Hag looks to reshape his squad ahead of next season.
So, if Martinez was to make the move to United in the summer, what sort of impact could he have on Ten Hag’s side? Could the 25-year-old help the club qualify for the Champions League?
We simulated the 2022/23 season with Martinez in the United squad and this is what happened.
We ‘signed’ Lisandro Martinez for Man United next season
To set up this simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to arrange for Martinez to join Ten Hag’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 23-year-old is well-rounded in terms of his mental, technical and physical attributes. At just 5ft 10ins tall, Martinez is not the tallest defender but his Aggression (16), Work Rate (15), Marking (15) and Strength (13) make him a very physical defender.
The Argentina international tends to dive into tackles, try long-range passes and brings the ball out of defence, suiting Ten Hag’s possession-based 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 any elite club.
Martinez played a total of 39 games for United in the 2022/23 season, but didn’t feature in European competition as Ten Hag rotated his squad. The 23-year-old was utilised as a squad player in the first few weeks but quickly found himself replacing Maguire in the side as Ten Hag eventually dropped the England international in favour of Martinez, thanks to the Argentinian’s superb performances.
The Argentinian defender scored one goal and registered one assist, playing the majority of games at centre-back alongside Raphael Varane. Martinez averaged a pass completion rate of 93% and tackle success rate of 80%, highlighting his ability to bring the ball out of defence after recovering possession and contributing to attacking phases of play.
At the end of the 2022/23 season, Football Manager 2022 put together an overall best Man United XI, based on performances, statistics and other metrics. This is what United’s best XI looked like at the end of the 2022/23 season as predicted by Football Manager 2022:
Full Arsenal best XI: (4-2-3-1): De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Fernandes, Nunes; Sancho, Van de Beek, Rashford; Ronaldo.
Martinez and fellow summer signing Matheus Nunes, who both signed for United in this simulation, both made it into the Best XI in their debut campaigns. So, how did United perform in the league and cup competitions after signing Martinez in the summer transfer window? Let’s take a look.
Man United’s results from the 2022-23 simulation:
United finished third in the Premier League and qualified for the Champions League ahead of rivals Arsenal and Chelsea. The Reds just pipped Tottenham to a third-place finish after finishing with the same amount of wins, draws and losses due to a superior goal difference of plus two.
Ten Hag’s side were able to close the gap to Liverpool in the Premier League table, but Man City ran away with the Premier League title finishing just a single point shy of becoming centurions again. Compared to the 2021/22 season, United finished three places higher in the table, with 12 more points and a better goal difference by +24.
In the domestic cup competitions, United struggled to challenge as they were dumped out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup to Peterborough and Spurs respectively. In Europe, the Reds found success under Ten Hag as United beat Leicester 2-1 in the Europa League final thanks to a brace from Marcus Rashford.
Overall, this Football Manager simulation predicts that if United were to sign Lisandro Martinez ahead of the 2022/23 season, he could play a key role, securing a first-team spot alongside Raphael Varane in defence. United could finish their first season under Ten Hag’s reign with silverware as the Reds beat Leicester in the Europa League final and qualified for the Champions League, as well as significantly improving their defensive performance in the Premier League with Martinez in the squad.
Would you like to see Lisandro Martinez signfor United this summer? Let us know in the comments!