Edwin van der Sar discloses the message Ajax sent Arsenal over Lisandro Martinez
Edwin van der Sar reveals the message Ajax sent Arsenal over Lisandro Martinez
Edwin van der Sar has disclosed that Ajax didn’t even bother entering into negotiations with Arsenal over a potential transfer in the summer.
The Gunners expressed interest in the Argentina international before switching their attention to Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Arsenal’s head of transfers, Edu, claimed the north London club was not willing to match Ajax’s asking price and ultimately chose to sign the former Manchester City player instead, who was less expensive.
Martinez has subsequently become a cult icon at Old Trafford as a result of his aggressive performances after his £56.7 million transfer, but things may have been quite different if Arsenal had been willing to engage in a bidding war.
Ajax chief and former United goalkeeper Van der Sar told The Athletic: ‘Arsenal came earlier for Lisandro, but it was an amount where we said, ‘Thank you very much for the offer, but we’d rather keep the player than start negotiating’.
‘With United, it was a little bit different. Over the years we have had a few conversations: Daley Blind, Donny van de Beek.
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‘My job is making sure I make the best decisions for Ajax.’
Martinez wasn’t the only well-known player to transfer from Ajax to United in the summer; manager Erik ten Hag and winger Antony also decided to accept the challenge of taking part in a seismic rebuilding project.
Van der Sar added: ‘I spoke with United about Erik, with Richard Arnold. Erik did a fantastic job here, put Ajax back on the European map with the players we had.
‘You know in hindsight that managers like the players they work with, the type of football Erik wanted to play, and with Martinez there he has shown his worth now.
‘There were question marks initially, but the way he can read the game, how aggressive he is — what he doesn’t have in centimetres he makes up for in other qualities.’
On his own future Van der Sar, himself linked with a return to United as director of football, said: ‘I’ve been here 10 years, I enjoy my life here, I live right on the beach, half an hour from here.
‘It’s work, it’s hard, but it’s rewarding. We will see what happens in the future.’