Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag reportedly wants Lionel Messi’s Argentina teammate Lautaro Martinez at Old Trafford.
Fichajes (via Caught Offside) reports that Ten Hag has personally requested the Red Devils target the Inter Milan striker. The 26-year-old is one of Europe’s in-form frontmen, bagging 22 goals in 30 games across competitions this season.
Ten Hag wants to strengthen his Manchester United squad this summer and is particularly looking to bolster his defense and attack. His side have struggled this season, failing to replicate their Carabao Cup-winning 2022-23 campaign.
Danish striker Rasmus Hojlund, 21, arrived from Atalanta last summer in a £72 million deal. He’s been in fine form recently, posting five goals in his last five outings.
However, Ten Hag is eyeing an experienced center-forward to help mentor Hojlund. Martinez is at the top of the Dutch coach’s wishlist and he boasts plenty of experience.
Martinez has been at Inter since 2018 and has been one of Serie A’s most prolific forwards. He’s struck 124 goals in 268 games across competitions during his time with the Nerazzurri.
Ten Hag needn’t look further for advice about signing Martinez than his Argentina captain Messi. The 2022 FIFA World Cup winner gave a glowing assessment of the Inter man back in 2020 (via One Football):
“He is spectacular, he has impressive qualities, you could always see that he would have become a great player, now he has exploded and he is showing it.”
However, Martinez won’t come cheaply though as he’s valued by Transfermarkt at £94 million (€110 million). He has just over two years left to run on his contract and was appointed club captain in the summer.
Darren Bent thinks Manchester United’s Alejandro Garnacho may be irritating Messi fans
Alejandro Garnacho has enjoyed a sensational season with Manchester United despite their struggles as a collective. The Argentine winger has become a regular starter on the right side of Ten Hag’s attack.
The 19-year-old has made 32 appearances across competitions, scoring seven goals and providing two assists. He often celebrates his goals by mimicking one of his idols Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, Darren Bent warned Garnacho that he may have some explaining to do should he encounter Messi fans back in Argentina. The former Premier League striker said:
“I will tell you what. Garnacho, the boy is on fire, isn’t he? Keep doing the Ronaldo celebrations. The Messi boys will be out for him when he goes back to Argentina.”
Messi’s longtime teammate Angel Di Maria also advised Garnacho to replicate the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner’s celebrations rather than his longtime rivals. He didn’t take that advice on board though as he pulled out another Ronaldo celebration in Manchester United’s 3-0 win against West Ham United (February 4).