Football News

Ajax confirm signing of second centre-back as De Ligt’s Barcelona move heats up

By Ben Green

Published: 19:58, 20 May 2019

Ajax have completed the signing of Defensa y Justicia defender Lisandro Martinez on a four-year deal.

Martinez has penned a contract with the Amsterdam club that will keep him at the Johan Cruijff Arena until June 2023, becoming Erik ten Hag’s fourth summer signing already.

Who is Martinez? Five key things to know…

  1. Age: 21
  2. Position: Centre-back
  3. Career path so far: Newell’s Old Boys (2017-2018), Defensa y Justicia (2018-2019)
  4. Key stat: Martinez has scored two goals and registered three assists in 25 Primera Division appearances from defence this season.
  5. Did you know? Martinez is capable of playing at left-back and is already capped at senior international level for Argentina.

The Champions League semi-finalists have already bolstered their ranks with the acquisitions of goalkeeper Kjell ScherpenDutch defender Kik Pierie and Romania international Razvan Marin.

Martinez becomes the second centre-back to relocate to Ajax already this summer, casting immediate doubts about the future of club captain Matthijs de Ligt, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

The Argentine defender underwent a medical examination on Monday and will officially join up with his new teammates on July 1.

Director of football Marc Overmars spoke of his delight in securing the services of a ball-playing defender, believing the 21-year-old possesses all the attributes of an Ajax player.

He told the club’s official website: “Martinez is a left-legged player who can handle multiple positions in the back. He is a defender who wants to play football ahead.

“He brings along a certain mentality that we can use well here, comparable to what his fellow countryman Nico Tagliafico shows here. And Lisandro is still young, so we expect that he will continue to develop into an even better player in the coming years.”

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

What does this mean for De Ligt?

With Ajax midfielder Frenkie de Jong already securing a £65m move to Barcelona this summer, there are strong rumours De Ligt will join him in Catalonia.

The teenage phenom was one of the standout performers as Ajax reached the Champions League’s penultimate stage, and has attracted plenty of attention as a result.

Barcelona are now believed to have stepped up there interest, and will supposedly secure his signature this summer, with Ajax manager Erik ten Hag already conceding the chances of the teenage sensation staying are “zero”.

However, Overmars, Ten Hag and Co will be hoping Martinez, as well as recently-recruited Pierie, will prove astute signings as they prepare for life post-De Jong and potentially post-De Ligt.