Lisandro Martinez admitted his idol is Gabriel Heinze

Manchester United transfer target Lisandro Martinez could follow in the footsteps of a former Old Trafford cult hero, who he regards as an idol.

Martinez models his approach on the pitch around combative former United defender Gabriel Heinze, a former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo.

And so long as he does not repeat Heinze’s unforgivable faux pas which saw him bizarrely try to force a move from United to Liverpool, then Martinez should get on just fine at Old Trafford if he signs.

Martinez has shot up Manchester United wishlist, De Telegraaf report, after Jurrien Timber decided to stay put at Ajax.

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Martinez admitted his idol is Gabriel Heinze

In an interview with Argentine newspaper Ole last year, Lisandro Martinez admitted his idol is Gabriel Heinze.

He even briefly crossed paths with Heinze at Newell’s Old Boys early in his career, where Heinze was coaching, before joining Defensa y Justicica, and then signed by Erik ten Hag’s Ajax in 2019.

Martinez said: “My idol when I was little was Gabriel Heinze and I watched him a lot at Tata Martino’s Newell’s. The direct passes that he put in, the moves in attack, the way he played, that he was aggressive, that he fought.

“I spoke [with Heinze] and I was very surprised. I don’t want to tell too much because it was an intimate, personal talk, but everything he told me was a total surprise.

“He knew that he was my idol and he ended up congratulating me and he gave me a couple of tips that I tried to put into practice.”

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United signed Heinze in 2004 from Paris Saint-Germain, and he instantly became a fan favourite at left-back with his hard-tackling style, helping to end Arsenal’s unbeaten run in his early months at the club.

While displaced by the arrival of Patrice Evra, Heinze was deemed expendable, despite a shift to centre-back, and was sold to Real Madrid in 2007, with one Premier League title medal.

Lisandro Martinez is a tough tackler whose defensive style echoes Heinze. He has earned the nickname of ‘the butcher of Amsterdam’.

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Top passer

Martinez is also a very good on the ball, and not just a tough tackler. He averaged 81 passes per game for Ajax last season, while completing 89 per cent of his passes, and prides himself on building from the back.

“I get annoyed when I miss a pass,” he explained in the same interview with Ole, before explaining how he likes the challenge of evading pressure.

He added: “The objective is to find the spaces to be able to hurt the rival. When individuals cannot break lines, then you have to be patient and move the ball quickly to find a way to enter through the pass. If you can’t in one way, you have to find another.”

The Telegraph earlier this summer tipped United to move for £35 million rated Martinez, and with his strong tackling and passing skill set, and already being known to Erik ten Hag, he could be an astute Red Devils’ signing this summer.

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