Arsenal are hoping to move quickly in the race for Ajax defender Lysandro Martinez, who is also wanted by Manchester United manager Eric ten Haag.
Arsenal have identified the 24-year-old as their top defensive target this summer and his latest offer is understood to be around £35m, which with the add-ons adds up to around £40m.
But he could face stiff competition from United for the signing of Martinez, as Ten Haag was keen on adding his former player to his defensive options at Old Trafford.
A bidding war between the two clubs would suit Ajax, who are in no hurry to sell the Argentine international in the summer window, in which they have already agreed to the departures of Sebastian Haller and Ryan Gravenburch for around £50m .
Martinez was Ajax’s player of the year under Ten Hague last season and the new United manager is understood to be pushing the club to compete with Arsenal for the defender’s signing.
There is a feeling in Holland that Arsenal are hoping to swiftly conclude a deal for Martinez, while United turn their attention to finalizing the transfers of Barcelona midfielder Frankie de Jong and Feyenoord full-back Tyrell Malacia Is.
Martinez is a versatile defensive option that is particularly appealing because he is left-footed. Arteta is hoping to add another left-sided defender to his backline and Martinez is able to play as a centre-back, left-back and even as a defensive midfielder.
If Arsenal can win the race for Martinez, it would allow young left-winger Nuno Tavares to leave the club on loan this summer. Tavares served as Kieran Tierney’s deputy last season with mixed results and attracted Marseille’s attention.
Arsenal have had a busy start to the summer window, having already concluded a £30m move for Porto midfielder Fabio Vieira and a £45m deal with Manchester City for striker Gabriel Jesus. The arrival of Brazil will be announced soon.
Arsenal have also signed young winger Marquinhos, who joined from So Paulo for around £3m, and have now confirmed a £7m addition to United States goalkeeper Matt Turner.
His financial firepower was boosted by a series of exits in January, including captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s departure for Barcelona, which freed up considerable space on his salary bill. The likes of Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira and Pablo Mari are also expected to be sold out ahead of the new season, to raise more money for a new signing.
Arteta’s pursuit of Leeds United winger Rafinha is almost certain to be disappointed, however, after Chelsea overtook the north London club in the race for the Brazilian. Barcelona is still of interest to Rafinha’s favorite place.
It remains to be seen whether Arsenal are looking to rekindle their long-standing interest in Leicester City midfielder Yuri Tielemans. Arsenal are huge fans of the 25-year-old, but a deal with Leicester is not considered close at this stage, with Martinez’s hunt seen as a more pressing priority.