Ajax chief Overmars tips new boy Martinez to be a star of the future

His commitment to the team ethic is a worthy one; indeed, it had been registered by the Ajax scouts who travelled so far to see just how good a player Lisandro Martinez had become before signing him for the Amsterdam giants. And yet, it wasn’t so much the player he was as he displayed his qualities in action for Argentinian outfit Defensa y Justicia — he was formerly with Newell’s Old Boys — that whetted their appetites; it was more a case of the player he could become, developing, as they know he will, at the Sons of the Gods.

And such is confidence in the player’s long-term future, the hierarchy at the club have sanctioned a four-year deal with an option of another year after that. He is in for the long haul, it is fair to say.

It’s not only Ajax who have recognised the talent of the defender, who is still aged only 21. He has, after all, represented his home nation — he made his single appearance back in March in a friendly game against Venezuela — and that can be considered an indication of how highly regarded he is by national team coach Lionel Scaloni, who is blessed with a huge talent pool. He will earn more international caps for sure.

Ajax’s Director of Football Affairs, Marc Overmars, recognises various attributes in the club’s new acquisition — mental toughness is certainly one, while his willingness to work for his team-mates is another. Both admirable qualities, no one can deny.

Former Arsenal and Holland attacker Overmars said of the new recruit:

“Martinez is a left-footed player who can cover several positions in defence. He’s a defender who enjoys playing at the front. He brings a certain mentality that can really help us here, similar to what his fellow Argentinian Nico Tagliafico shows here.  And Lisandro is still young, so we expect that he will develop into an even better player in the next few years.”

So how does Martinez himself feel about his move to Europe and the chance to shine in the upcoming league campaign as well as the possibility of Champions League football? He says harnessing his ability with that of his team-mates and the style of play is a great attraction and helped him make up his mind to go ahead with the transfer. He said:

“I have to say that I chose Ajax, firstly because it is a football school. Also, because I really think that Ajax is the place where I can develop to the maximum and can really be an added value. The way they play, with this great team.”

“My quality is that I always try to make my team-mates better. I want to be a team-mate, inside and outside the field. I am committed to improving the game.”