Van der Sar reflects on Antony’s departure and rejecting approach from Arsenal for Martinez

Edwin van der Sar has reflected on a hectic summer window in Amsterdam in which he oversaw the transfers of two players to his former club. 

Lisandro Martinez became a Manchester United player in July and was one of the first players on Erik ten Hag’s transfer list when he took charge of the team. Ten Hag had just concluded his managerial reign at Ajax and was adamant about bringing two stars with him, Martinez was the deal he secured first.

The 24-year-old had also attracted interest from fellow Premier League rivals Arsenal but, thankfully for United fans, ended up moving to Manchester and playing a crucial role in their squad for the 2022/2023 campaign.

Van der Sar being a legend etched in the history books at Old Trafford may have swayed the side to favour United’s approach. He told Times Sport: “We gave a firm ‘no’ to Arsenal when they first came for Lisandro; we fought hard to keep him.” 

Next up for Ten Hag was bolstering his squad with the addition of a winger, and he’d eyed the skilful Brazilian international Antony. The Dutch side at this late stage in the window had already overseen several departures to key players and Antony was one they were keen on keeping.

United had numerous approaches rejected by the club, but the 22-year-old was ensuring he made the move to the Premier League last summer.  After skipping training sessions and refusing to play games, Ajax set their asking price: €95 million – United eventually obliged and Antony became a red.

Van der Sar wanted players to stay another year

Van der Sar weighed in on the tedious Antony transfer saga and what it meant to the club for him to leave. He said: “It has been the toughest [window] because of the sheer number of players we lost. We know that’s our position; we can’t really cope with the money and wages paid overseas, so it’s difficult to keep your foot in the door.

“Of course we tried to persuade him [Antony] to stay, but Erik is someone who knows what he wants and what direction he wants to go.

“The moment United made their approach, it was obvious it was a big challenge for him and that he wanted to take it. It was our opinion they [Antony and Martinez] should stay for another year.”

More Stories Ajax Antony Edwin van der Sar Erik ten Hag Lisandro Martinez Manchester United