Manchester United are moving quickly in the market as Erik ten Hag continues to shape the side his liking. Tyrell Malacia become the club’s first signing of the summer earlier this month and since then, two more arrivals have followed.
Ten Hag knows Malacia well from his time in the Eredivisie and Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen are also familiar faces, with both players having pasts at Ajax.
Malacia and Martinez are both left-sided defenders, with the latter preferring to play as a centre-back. Ahead of the window, signing defenders was seen as a low priority, with other areas in greater need of reinforcements.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Crystal Palace in Melbourne, Ten Hag explains how he identified United’s left side as their weakness last season and those concerns have been reflected in his transfer activity.
Asked to comment on Martinez’s arrival in particular, Ten Hag told The Athletic: “We have good players there but I think we need a squad that is also good and deep. I analysed and United last year were quite vulnerable over the left part of the defence. He is left-footed and that is an advantage in possession but also in defending.
“He also brings a South American spirit, a controlled aggressiveness. I think it will fit really good with Manchester United and our way of playing.
“He’s not the tallest but he is quite good in the air. I feel comfortable with that. Of course, you need the right balance. He has good timing, that’s one of his capabilities. We bring him in to not strengthen the squad, but the team.”
United were a dysfunctional team for all of last season but clearly, by Ten Hag’s admission, one area performed worse than the rest in the club’s worst-ever Premier League campaign.
And with three weeks remaining before the season officially begins, he has already made significant moves to address that with the signings of Malacia and Martinez.
It does, however, add an interesting layer to the uncertain futures of Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles. Shaw has just one year remaining on his contract, Maguire has endured intense criticism and Telles is likely to be sold this summer.