Who is Lisandro Martinez: Manchester United’s New Centre-back?

Manchester United have announced the signing of Lisandro Martinez from Ajax in a deal worth £46.5 million ($53m). The Argentine defender has committed to a 5-year contract that is set to take him through to the summer of 2027 in Manchester.

Martinez became United’s top defensive target after club-mate Jurrien Timber opted to stay with the Dutch champions.

The Red Devils saw off competition from Arsenal for the 24-year-old after the Gunners had appeared to be leading the race for his signature.

In this post, FootballOrbit brings you all you need to know about Lisandro Martinez.

Lisandro Martinez was born on the 18th of January 1998 in Gualeguay, Argentina.

He started his career at local youth academy, Club Urquiza, in 2002 and later moved to Club Libertad in the same region in the year 2006.

Newell’s Old Boys

In 2014, Martinez joined the academy of one of Argentina’s biggest clubs, Newell’s Old Boys.

Old Boys was where the legendary Lionel Messi started his career and it was also where Marcelo Bielsa cut his teeth as a manager.

Lisandro made his professional debut for Newell’s Old Boys in 2017 — aged 19.

Defensa y Justicia

In August 2017, Martínez joined fellow Argentine Primera División side Defensa y Justicia on loan.

His first appearance for Defensa was on the 13th of October 2017 in a defeat against San Lorenzo.

In his third appearance for the club, he scored his first senior career goal in an away win versus Temperley.

Defensa y Justicia purchased 50% of the rights to Martínez in June 2018.


On the 17th of May 2019, Defensa y Justicia announced that a deal had been agreed with Dutch giants Ajax.

Ajax paid the Argentine side €7m for the transfer of Martínez. He penned a 4-year contract, with the option of a further year.

Martinez joined Ajax in the same summer that Matthijs de Ligt departed for Juventus. The Argentine was seen as a long-term replacement for the club’s former captain at centre-back.

“Martinez is a left-footed player who can play several positions in the back.

“He is a defender who likes to play football forward.”

Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars on Lisandro Martinez

Lisandro Martinez made his debut for Ajax in the 2019 Johan Cruyff Shield against PSV Eindhoven, as Ajax won the trophy following a two-goal victory.

He was voted Man of the Match in his second Eredivisie appearance in a win over FC Emmen.

Martínez scored his first Ajax goal on the 28th of September 2019 when he opened the scoring in a 2–0 victory over FC Groningen.


The 2021/22 season saw Lisandro Martinez establish himself as one of the best defenders in Europe. Putting in sterling displays and won many admirers due to his combative style of play

At the end of the season, he was voted as Ajax Player of the Year.

He made 37 appearances and scored a goal in all competitions in 2021/22.

Manchester United

On the 17th of July 2022, amid stiff competition for his signing; Manchester United announced that the club has reached an agreement with Ajax for Lisandro Martinez.

He signed a 5-year deal worth £46.5 million ($53m). An extra £8m will be paid in add-ons.

Around €2m (£1.7m) of Martinez’s fee will be split between his former clubs, Newell’s Old Boys and Defensa y Justicia.

The move will see Martinez link up again with former manager Erik Ten Hag — who signed him for Ajax in 2019 — at Old Trafford.

He has been replaced at Ajax by Calvin Bassey.

International career

Who is Lisandro Martinez? Manchester United's New Centre-back
Martinez won the Finalissima with Argentina

Having played for Argentina’s U-20 and U-23 teams, Martínez received his first call-up to the senior team in March 2019.

On the 22nd March 2019, he made his international debut for Argentina against Venezuela.

Lisandro Martinez was part of the Argentine side that won the Copa America in 2021.

He was an unused substitute in Argentina’s 3-0 victory over Italy in the 2022 Finalissima.

Style of play

Martínez is primarily a centre-back but can play at left-back and in central midfield due to his versatility.

He is a ball-playing centre-back and is known for his range of passing and composure on the ball.

In the 2021/22 Eredivisie season, he averaged more passes per 90 minutes than any other player.

Due to his aggressive and combative style of play, he is nicknamed “The Butcher”!!!

There have been questions over Martinez’s short stature as he stands at 5ft 9in tall. But having taller defenders to assist and protect him would be helpful.

He may seem a bit too short as a centre-back, but last season; he won more aerial duels per 90 minutes than Harry Maguire managed for Man Utd.

Opposition teams might think they can target Martinez in the air because of his height but will be disappointed.

Lisandro Martinez’s football idol is former Manchester United defender, Gabriel Heinze.

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