Edwin van der Sar has revealed Ajax turned down an offer from Arsenal for Lisandro Martinez – who later signed for Manchester United.
Martinez penned a five-year deal at Old Trafford this summer and following a barrage of early criticism, the Argentine has settled into his surroundings with a host of superb displays.
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag raided his former club for the centre-back and swooped late in the window for exciting winger Antony.
Former United goalkeeper Van der Sar is now Ajax chief executive and was key to the Red Devils’ pursuit of both Martinez and Antony.
Ajax recouped a total of £142m for both players after initially forking just £6m to acquire Martinez, meaning they had exceeded their annual revenue solely from the two sales.
“They’re good players,” Van der Sar told The Athletic. “Erik knew them, they fit with his playing style. He wanted the players, we didn’t want to lose them so… you put a high price on them.
“When you want a player, you probably pay a little bit more. For me, it was a fair negotiation with Richard Arnold [Manchester United CEO] and John Murtough [Manchester United football director], and that was it.
“Arsenal came earlier for Lisandro, but it was an amount where we said, ‘Thank you very much for the offer, but we’d rather keep the player than start negotiating’.
“With United, it was a little bit different. Over the years we have had a few conversations: Daley Blind, Donny van de Beek.
“My job is making sure I make the best decisions for Ajax.”
Arsenal opted to solve their defensive issue by pairing Gabriel alongside the recalled William Saliba, who spent last season on loan at Marseille.
With the Gunners sitting pretty at he top of the Premier League and promising signs for United following their sticky start to the season, both sides appear content with their defensive reinforcements.