Erik ten Hag has revealed Lisandro Martinez phoned him up to issue a come-and-get-me plea while he was still at Ajax.
Martinez, 24, joined United in a £49m move from the Dutch club in the summer and has quickly settled at Old Trafford.
He replaced Harry Maguire in Ten Hag’s starting line-up after immediately adapting to English football.
Martinez already looks like a superb signing for United but things could have turned out very differently for the defender, who was strongly linked Premier League leaders Arsenal before his move to United.
Ten Hag reveals Martinez phone call
Ten Hag has now revealed that Martinez called up him while it was still at Ajax to promise him he’d snub Arsenal to move to United instead.
When asked if he had found it hard to take Martinez away from his former club Ajax, Ten Hag told Voetbal International: “I had such a great time there, the way we build a project. Out of nowhere we brought Ajax back to European top level.
“But Martínez himself wanted to leave. If we didn’t take him, he would have gone to Arsenal.”
He added: “At a certain point, Lisandro Martínez called me up and said: ‘Coach, listen, I will leave Ajax no matter what. I can sign for Arsenal, but if you want me, I will go to Manchester United.'”
He is set to miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup round of 16 clash with Burnley and also United’s return to Premier League action against Nottingham Forest on December 27.
But Martinez could return in time for United’s trip to face Wolves at Molineux on New Year’s Eve.