Arsenal have decided to pull out of the race to sign Lisandro Martinez after Manchester United emerged as the frontrunners. Ajax have accepted that the Argentine will leave the club this summer, and the Red Devils are expected to step up their pursuit in the coming days.

The Gunners were the frontrunners for the Argentina international, and had already submitted two bids to the Eredivisie club. Mikel Arteta remains a big admirer of Martinez, whose versatility allows him to play at centre-back, left back and in central midfield.

Meanwhile, United made their interest known following Erik ten Hag's arrival at Old Trafford. The Dutch coach is keen for a reunion with the Argentine, with whom he shares a close relationship having brought him to the Johann Cryuff Arena in 2019.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal Jon Super/POOL

Arsenal's last bid was around £38 million including add-ons, which was rejected by the Eredivisie champions. United submitted an improved offer compared to their Premier League rivals' offer, which was also rejected by Ajax. They are yet to give clearance for clubs to talk to Martinez.

As per Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, the United hierarchy will meet their Dutch counterparts on Wednesday to discuss a new fee for Martinez. Ajax are open to letting the centre-back leave, but will do so only after all their conditions are met.

Lisandro Martinez
Ajax's Lisandro Martinez (R) is close to joining Manchester United. ANP SPORT / Maurice van STEEN

Meanwhile, according to Dutch journalist Mike Verweij, Ajax have set a new price for Martinez, and are now expecting interested suitors to pay at least £46 million (€55m) to sign the defender. The Dutch club's previous demand was set at £43 million (€50m), but they are expecting United to meet their new valuation in the coming days.

"Ajax is willing to talk to Manchester United about Lisandro Martinez. But the club wants 55-60 million euros anyway," Verweij said.

Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder is preparing for Martinez's eventual departure from Amsterdam. The former Club Bruges manager has identified Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykola Matviyenko as a replacement despite Ajax's scouting team previously deeming the Ukrainian not good enough.

Erik Ten Hag
Erik ten Hag Lukas Schulze/UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images