Arsenal has been linked with attacking reinforcements on a regular basis, so it was pleasant to see a new defensive-minded player emerge yesterday.
Arsenal are interested in Ajax’s Lisandro Martinez, according to The Athletic. An offer in the range of €30 million (£26 million) has already been rejected, but a second offer is expected. With Pablo Mari expected to go, the left-footed centre-back would be seen as competition for Gabriel Magalhaes.
Martinez can also play as a left back and defensive midfielder, giving him a lot of versatility both behind and in front of the defense. Mikel Arteta is also rumored to be interested in Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko and Bologna’s Aaron Hickey, so this isn’t the first time the Gunners have showed an interest in a versatile defender.
It’s evident that the Spaniard is looking for a specific type of player in this region, but the rumored interest in Martinez makes more sense when you consider that Youri Tielemans could still join despite Fabio Vieira’s planned arrival.
The 24-year-old Argentine’s style of play is significantly more defensive than attacking, and he’s been dubbed the ‘butcher’ for his uncompromising mentality on the pitch, which is similar to Tottenham’s Cristian Romero. Zinchenko and Hickey, on the other hand, are more forward-thinking, frequently making runs down the left flank or moving the ball into the midfield.
Furthermore, if a deal for Tielemans is being pursued, the club will already have sufficient attacking talent in the same position. Zinchenko, on the other hand, is a decent defender, but Martinez’s ability to play a center role will undoubtedly be a plus.
Meanwhile, according to The Athletic, the return of William Saliba means that a new centre-back isn’t a top priority for Arsenal, though the club could act if a ‘very strong market chance’ surfaced, which Martinez appears to be. If Saliba remains at the club next season, Arteta will have at least four quality options: Gabriel, Ben White, Rob Holding, and, of course, Saliba himself, discounting newcomers.
Despite reports that a number of teams are interested in signing Saliba, the Frenchman is expected to make his debut in red and white. What role he will play in the first team remains to be seen, and pre-season will no likely offer us with a better idea, but his presence will surely provide the squad with much-needed competition for what is expected to be a demanding season ahead.
Arsenal’s return to Europe and the introduction of five substitutes means there will be plenty of opportunities, with greater depth being crucial if Arteta and his players are to have a successful season.