“Transfer is getting closer” – Player Ten Hag wanted last summer is close to leaving

Ajax Amsterdam coach Erik ten Hag celebrates after the match.

Erik ten Hag was interested in another defender before signing Lisandro Martinez REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay.

Manchester United found a gem of a centre-back in Lisandro Martinez from Ajax last summer. The Argentine took no time in making Manchester his home and has established himself as an Old Trafford favourite.

Erik ten Hag has felt his absence lately. The 25-year-old sustained an injury during Manchester United’s first-leg match against Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals. As soon as he was off the pitch, the Red Devils conceded an equaliser. Another disastrous defensive performance from the backline bereft of Martinez in Seville ended their hopes of European glory.

United missed his presence against Tottenham Hotspur as well, throwing away a two-goal lead in the second half. Ten Hag will be sweating on his fitness ahead of a Manchester derby FA Cup final in June.

Ten Hag was interested in signing Timber last summer

Interestingly, Martinez wasn’t the first centre-back the former Ajax manager targeted in his maiden transfer window at United. It was widely reported at the time that the Dutch coach was keen on signing Jurrien Timber.

The Netherlands international decided to continue in Amsterdam for another season. But he has now suggested an exit from Ajax is getting closer.

“My transfer is getting closer. There is a lot of specific interest for the summer. Last summer, Ajax asked me to renew my contract and to stay for one more season. Out of love for the club, I did this,” Timber told Dutch outlet Telegraaf (via Fabrizio Romano).

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Whether Ten Hag is still monitoring Timber remains to be seen, but it is understood he wants a new central defender to compete with Raphael Varane, who’s also unavailable due to injury. In that scenario, the Ajax star, who plays on the right side of defence, should be among the targets in the summer.

The versatile 21-year-old has also praised his former defensive partner Martinez’s communication skills during defending and said he isn’t surprised by his showings in Manchester.