Lisandro Martinez, Ajax
With Jurrien Timber increasingly likely to stay at Ajax, interested parties seem 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 Argentinian was our highest rated defender in the Eredivisie last season. His passing from him is exceptional. Martínez made 92.4 passes per 90 minutes last season – more than any other player in the division – and his pass success rate of 88.9% ranked sixth in the league. In addition, his tally of 6.1 accurate long balls per 90 minutes was the fifth best of all outfielders in the Eredivisie.
Martinez helps Ajax retain possession and move the ball upfield as quickly as possible. He also excels off the ball, winning possession for his side aggressively, with 4.5 tackles and interceptions combined per 90 minutes. A left-footed centre-back seems to be a priority for a number of clubs in the Premier League this summer, so it’s no wonder they are considering Martínez.
David Raum, Hoffenheim
It’s been a whirlwind 12 months for David Raum. Having left Greuther Fürth for Hoffenheim on a free transfer last summer, the left wing-back’s stock has soared considerably. Raum made his Germany debut only last September, yet is now established as first choice for Hansi Flick’s side. Hoffenheim will have to either bat away substantial interest in their prized asset or make a hefty 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 to register 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, may lose Marcos Alonso and Emerson this summer, so they need another left-back.
Evan Ndicka, Eintracht Frankfurt
Tottenham’s interest in a left-sided centre-back is well known. After a failed attempt – for now – to sign Alessandro Bastoni from Inter, Pau Torres emerged as their top target. If they miss out on the Villarreal and Spain defender, Evan Ndicka is a good option. The 22-year-old only has a year left to run on his contract with Eintracht Frankfurt so he may be available for lower than market value.
Only Nico Schlotterbeck earned a higher rating than Ndicka in the Bundesliga last season, with the Frenchman excelling in both a four-man and a three-man backline for the Europa League winners. He has made 108 tackles and interceptions combined, the 12th most in the Bundesliga.
Ndicka also provided a threat in the final third for Eintracht, directly contributing to eight league goals, scoring four. He may not be a household name, but the youngster has the potential to shine under Antonio Conte.
After a slow start in his first campaign in Ligue 1, Jonathan Clauss took the division by storm in 2021-22. He was directly involved in 16 goals for Lens, more than any other full-back or wing-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 he will not play European football this coming season unless he moves on. A number of Europe’s top sides have been credited with an interest in the 29-year-old. Chelsea are reportedly monitoring his progress, which is not a huge surprise given the system Thomas Tuchel plays.
Clauss would provide solid competition for Reece James for the right wing-back spot and he would give Tuchel a quality option in the role when James is absent. If Clauss is available this summer, Chelsea should not 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 move for Alessandro Bastoni has fallen by the wayside for now, but they could return to Inter and capitalize upon the club’s need to sell players.
Last summer Spurs reportedly agreed to a fee for the forward Lautaro Martínez only for the move to fall through when Inter sold Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea. With Inter working on deals to bring back Lukaku and sign Paulo Dybala, Spurs may have an opportunity to reignite a deal for Martínez. The Inter CEO, Beppe Marotta, has said that Martínez is “a key player for our plans” but he also admitted that they may be “forced to sell” this summer.
Martínez finished fourth for goals and assists combined (24) and first for possession won in the attacking third (34) in Serie A last season. He has also worked under Antonio Conte in the past. It’ll take a huge bid to convince Inter to sell the Argentina international, but he would be an ideal fit for Conte’s system.