Manchester United nearly signed Aston Villa superstar but Erik Ten Hag blocked the move

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Manchester United's transfer strategy under manager Erik ten Hag has come under scrutiny following the revelation that the club nearly signed Aston Villa's goalkeeping sensation, Emiliano Martinez. Ten Hag's decision to block the move in favour of Andre Onana, whom he had previously worked with at Ajax, has raised questions about the Dutch manager's influence over the club's transfer dealings.

Since his arrival at Old Trafford, ten Hag has shown a penchant for bringing in players he has worked with before or knows well. This approach has seen the likes of Antony, Lisandro Martinez, and Andre Onana join from Ajax, as well as Sofyan Amrabat. However, it was his choice to pass up on the opportunity to sign Emiliano Martinez that has drawn criticism from fans and pundits alike.

Emiliano Martinez, the former Arsenal goalkeeper, has established himself as one of the world's best in his position. His impressive performances have been instrumental in Aston Villa's top-four finish in the Premier League and Argentina's triumphs in the Copa America and World Cup. Martinez's agent, Gonzalo Goni, revealed that Manchester United was very close to signing him. He told ESPN,

"Last year he was very close to Manchester United, the coach chose Onana, because he already knew him. But everyone at Manchester United later maintained that the ideal goalkeeper to win was Emiliano Martínez."

Emiliano Martinez, Angel Mena
Argentina v Ecuador - CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024 / Buda Mendes/GettyImages

Andre Onana's debut season at Manchester United has been far from ideal. Despite winning the FA Cup, his high-profile errors have cost the team valuable points in both the Premier League and the Champions League. United finished eighth in the league, conceding a record 58 goals. In contrast, Martinez has continued to shine for both club and country, playing a crucial role in Argentina's Copa America campaign and Aston Villa's return to European football.

Martinez's statistics further underscore his exceptional abilities. He kept 15 clean sheets in 47 matches, conceding just 61 goals. His consistency and reliability have made him a cornerstone for both Aston Villa and the Argentine national team. Martinez has won three trophies with Argentina, which is more than the number of games he has lost for his country, having been defeated just twice in 43 appearances.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding his future this summer, Manchester United's leadership has decided to keep ten Hag at the club. However, under the new leadership of INEOS, led by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the manager's authority over transfers has been reduced. A new transfer team, including technical director Jason Wilcox, chief executive Omar Berrada, and sporting director Dan Ashworth, will now play a more significant role in the club's transfer decisions.

Erik ten Hag's decision to block the signing of Emiliano Martinez in favour of Andre Onana is a move that could haunt Manchester United for years to come. While ten Hag has had some successful signings, his track record has been widely questioned.