AJAX chief Edwin van der Sar has explained why he refused to sell Lisandro Martinez to Arsenal – only to then do a deal with Manchester United.
Martinez, 24, has been a sure-fire hit at Old Trafford following his £57million move from the Dutch capital.
Former Ajax boss Erik ten Hag made it clear he wanted to raid his old side for the Argentina centre-back.
However, he almost missed out after rivals Arsenal came steaming in with a tempting offer.
Fortunately for Ten Hag, Ajax were in no mood to strike a deal with the Gunners.
And shortly after, United had a bid accepted to make Martinez a new Red Devil.
He has since become a fan favourite at Old Trafford with some inspired performances.
But Arsenal won’t mind too much, with Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba forming a fine partnership for the title chasers.
Ajax transfer guru Van der Sar has now explained why he rejected Arsenal’s bid, claiming it was too low to bother negotiating over.
Meanwhile, former side United were willing to pay over the odds to get a deal done, and Ajax decided it was in their best interests to accept.
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Van der Sar told the Athletic: “Arsenal came earlier for Lisandro, but it was an amount where we said, ‘Thank you very much for the offer, but we’d rather keep the player than start negotiating’.
“With United, it was a little bit different. Over the years we have had a few conversations: Daley Blind, Donny van de Beek. My job is making sure I make the best decisions for Ajax.”
Martinez wasn’t the only Ajax player Ten Hag ended up signing, with Brazilian winger Antony joining for £85m late in the window.
And Van der Sar again admits he only did business with United as the transfer fee was too good to turn down.
He added: “They’re good players. Erik knew them, they fit with his playing style. He wanted the players, we didn’t want to lose them so… you put a high price on them.
“When you want a player, you probably pay a little bit more. For me, it was a fair negotiation with Richard and John Murtough, and that was it.
“Managers like the players they work with, the type of football Erik wanted to play, and with Martinez there he has shown his worth now.
“[Antony is] still young, still potential. We would have liked to keep him here one year longer – there was not a dire need to sell him, we had money in the bank.
“But the fee got so high. We challenged United to go as far as possible. They have a potential world star.”
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