Edwin van der Sar has confirmed that Ajax wasted little time in rejecting Arsenal’s summer bid for centre-back Lisandro Martinez before his eventual move to Manchester United.
The Argentine endured a tricky start to life in England but has enjoyed some excellent performances in recent weeks, living up to the expectations that came with his £56.7m move from Amsterdam during the summer.
Ajax had planned on keeping Martinez following the departure of manager Erik ten Hag to United, and Van der Sar has now confessed that a bid from Arsenal was rejected earlier in the window.
“It was our opinion they should stay for another year,” he told The Times of both Martinez and winger Antony, who eventually moved to United as well.
“We gave a firm ‘no’ to Arsenal when they came first for Lisandro; we fought hard to keep him.”
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Arsenal declined to pursue an alternative to Martinez but did see their defence boosted by the return of Frenchman William Saliba from his loan with Marseille.
Alongside Gabriel Magalhaes, who recently signed a new long-term contract, Saliba has inspired Arsenal to the top of the Premier League, two points ahead of reigning champions Manchester City.
The Gunners have the second-best defence in the league, behind only Newcastle and level with City and Chelsea on 11 goals conceded.