Barcelona are reportedly monitoring AFC Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez. The Catalan giants could launch a move for the Argentine defender in the summer.
According to Spanish publication Sport via Barca Universal, Ajax value Martinez at around €32 million. Considering the Blaugrana‘s financial issues, the club are unlikely to sign the 23-year-old in the ongoing transfer window.
The report also added that Martinez has a verbal agreement in place with Ajax about not blocking his exit if a lucrative offer arrives. It is also worth noting that the Dutch club and Barcelona have had good relations due to their dedication to Johan Cruyff’s ideologies. The Catalans most recently signed Sergino Dest from Ajax in the summer of 2020.
Signing a new centre-back is an absolute necessity for Xavi Hernandez’s side. Barcelona have plenty of young talent in their forward and midfield departments, but desperately need new blood at the heart of their defense.
Gerard Pique will turn 35 next month, while Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet’s time at the Nou Camp has been derailed by inconsistency and injuries. Although Barcelona do have Eric Garcia and Ronald Araujo, they will want to add a third young centre-back to revitalize their defense.
Lisandro Martinez could be a good fit for Barcelona
Martinez rose through the ranks at Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys before joining Defensa in the country’s top tier. The central defender made 57 appearances for the club in the 2018-19 season before moving to Ajax in the summer of 2019.
Martinez had big shoes to fill after joining the Dutch giants following the departure of Matthijs de Ligt. The Argentine became an instant fixture in the starting line-up, making 41 appearances for Ajax in his debut season.
He then played 42 times in the 2020-21 campaign, helping his side to the Eredivisie title, the Dutch Cup and the Dutch Super Cup. Although Martinez was also part of Argentina’s victorious Copa America 2021 squad, he made only one appearance in the group stages.
Overall, the 23-year-old has played 107 matches for Ajax. He also has a knack for scoring goals, having found the back of the net six times so far. Martinez is a solid physical presence, extremely composed on the ball and an intelligent passer. The Argentine can also operate in central midfield.
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These characteristics mean he could be an excellent signing for Barcelona, who are looking to build their squad around talented youngsters.