Lisandro Martinez, Ajax
With Jurrien Timber increasingly likely to stay at Ajax, interested parties appear to have turned their attention to the Dutchman’s centre-back partner. Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United have all been linked with Lisandro Martínez.
The Argentine was our highest rated defender in the Eredivisie last season. His death is exceptional. Martínez completed 92.4 passes per 90 minutes last season – more than any other player in the division – and his pass completion rate of 88.9% ranked sixth in the league. Additionally, his tally of 6.1 accurate long balls per 90 minutes was fifth best of any outfielder in the Eredivisie.
Martínez helps Ajax retain possession and get the ball up as quickly as possible. He also excels on the ball, winning possession for his team aggressively, with 4.5 combined tackles and interceptions per 90 minutes. A left centre-back seems to be a priority for a number of Premier League clubs this summer, so it’s no wonder they are considering Martínez.
David Raum, Hoffenheim
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for David Raum. After leaving Greuther Fürth for Hoffenheim on a free transfer last summer, the left winger’s stock has increased significantly. Raum only made his Germany debut last September but is now established as the first choice for Hansi Flick’s side. Hoffenheim will either have to earn substantial interest in their prized asset or make a big profit on the 24-year-old.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (90) and Filip Kostic (87) were the only full-backs to make more key passes than Raum (83) in Europe’s top five leagues last season, with Alexander-Arnold (12) the only full-back side to record more assists than the German (11).
Manchester United have Luke Shaw and Alex Telles on the books, but a player of Raum’s caliber would be hard to turn down. Chelsea, meanwhile, could lose Marcos Alonso and Emerson this summer so they need another left-back.
Evan Ndicka, Eintracht Frankfurt
Tottenham’s interest in a left centre-back is well known. After a failed – so far – attempt to sign Alessandro Bastoni from Inter, Pau Torres has become their main target. If they miss Villarreal and Spain defender, Evan Ndicka is a good option. The 22-year-old has just one year left on his contract with Eintracht Frankfurt, so he could be available for less than market value.
Only Nico Schlotterbeck was rated higher than Ndicka in the Bundesliga last season, with the Frenchman excelling in both a four-man and three-man backline for the Europa League winners. He had 108 combined tackles and interceptions, the 12th most in the Bundesliga.
Ndicka also proved a threat in the final third for Eintracht, directly contributing to eight league goals, netting four. He might not be a household name but the youngster has the potential to shine under Antonio Conte.
Jonathan Clauss, Lens
After a slow start to his maiden Ligue 1 campaign, Jonathan Clauss has taken the division by storm in 2021-22. He was directly involved in 16 goals for Lens, more than any other full-back or full-back in Europe’s top five leagues. His fine form for Franck Haise’s side earned him his first call-up for France earlier this year.
Lens finished seventh in Ligue 1, meaning they won’t be playing European football this season unless they move on. A number of Europe’s top sides have been credited with an interest in the 29-year-old. Chelsea are said to be monitoring his progress which isn’t a huge surprise given the system Thomas Tuchel uses.
Clauss would provide strong competition to Reece James for the right-back position and he would give Tuchel a quality option in the role when James is out. If Clauss is available this summer, Chelsea shouldn’t pass up the chance to sign him.
Lautaro Martinez, Inter
Tottenham have already signed Fraser Forster, Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma but they are keen to keep spending. It looks like their decision of Alessandro Bastoni has been dropped for the time being, but they could return to Inter and capitalize on the club’s need to sell players.
Last summer, Spurs reportedly agreed to a fee for striker Lautaro Martínez only for the transfer to fall through when Inter sold Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea. With Inter working on deals to bring Lukaku back and sign Paulo Dybala, Spurs could have an opportunity to revive a deal for Martínez. Inter CEO Beppe Marotta said Martínez was “a key player in our plans”, but he also admitted they could be “forced to sell” this summer.
Martínez was fourth in combined goals and assists (24) and first in possession won in the third attacking streak (34) in Serie A last season. He has also worked under Antonio Conte in the past. It will take a huge offer to convince Inter to sell the Argentina international, but he would suit Conte’s system perfectly.