Barcelona are reportedly interested in signing AFC Ajax and Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez in the summer transfer window later this year.

According to a report from TuttoMercatoWeb, Barcelona have turned their attention back towards AFC Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez as they look to reinforce their backline in the summer transfer window.

Martinez started at the Newell’s Old Boys academy in Argentina and had a stint at Defensa y Justicia before making his way to Ajax in 2019. Since landing in the Netherlands, the 23-year-old has grown into a key member of the side, playing a key role in the success that Erik ten Hag’s side has achieved.

To date, Martinez has featured over 100 times for the Dutch heavyweights, while he also has four caps for the Argentine national team. Primarily a centre-half, the defender has done the job at left-back on occasions, while there have been times when he has been deployed as a defensive midfielder as well.

While he may not be the most imposing defender physically, Martinez more than makes up for it with his intelligent positioning and reading of the game. During the group stages of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League, the 23-year-old completed the most number of ball recoveries by any defender (49). At the same time, he is an excellent ball-playing defender with a brilliant range of distribution.

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These attributes, coupled with his young age, make Martinez an ideal target for the Barcelona project that Xavi Hernandez is building. The Catalans will need reinforcements at the back next summer as Gerard Pique will soon be turning 35 while Samuel Umtiti and Clement Lenglet are expected to depart from Camp Nou.

With Eric Garcia not settling in as expected, adding another top defender makes a lot of sense for the BlaugranaA move for Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen has been mooted strongly, but Martinez has now become a priority as per the report due to his ball-playing abilities and the fact that he is a left-footed defender, something that the Catalan giants will be lacking in the squad once Lenglet and Umtiti leave.

However, signing the 23-year-old might prove tricky as he signed a new contract with Ajax last year, extending his stay until 2025. So, the Dutch champions could demand a massive fee for their defensive mainstay should Barcelona make an approach in the summer.

It remains to be seen if the Blaugrana decide to push ahead with their pursuit of Martinez or look at other, more cost-effective options like Alessio Romagnoli, who will be available on a free transfer.

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