Football: Martinez United's 3rd summer signing, Koulibaly joins Chelsea while Lewandowski heads for Barca

Argentinian central defender Lisandro Martinez has flown to Manchester to undergo a medical prior to his move. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS, AFP) - Manchester United have reached a deal with Eredivisie champions Ajax Amsterdam to sign Argentinian central defender Lisandro Martinez for £45 million (S$74.7 million), the BBC reported on Saturday (July 16).

The report added that Martinez has flown to Manchester to undergo a medical prior to his move to the Premier League club.

The 24-year-old, who can also play in midfield, would be manager Erik ten Hag's third signing following the arrivals of Dutch left-back Tyrell Malacia and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have completed the signing of Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli on a four-year contract, the London side said.

The British media reported the Blues paid a fee in the region of £32 million for Koulibaly, who becomes the London side's second summer signing since the Todd Boehly-led takeover, after Raheem Sterling's arrival on Wednesday.

"I'm very happy to be here with this team at Chelsea," Koulibaly said in a statement. "It's a big team in the world and my dream was always to play in the Premier League. "Chelsea came first to get me in 2016 but we didn't make it. Now when they came to me I accepted it because they really wanted me to come to the Premier League to play for them."

Chelsea lost centre-backs Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen earlier in the close season, and Koulibaly's addition will come as a boost for Thomas Tuchel's side as they look to close the gap on Manchester City and Liverpool.

Elsewhere, multiple reports on Saturday said Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski is set to move to Barcelona in a deal worth €50 million (S$70.5 million).

Both clubs reached agreement overnight on Friday, according to Bild and Kicker newspapers and the Sky Germany channel, ending a stand-off with the Polish forward who has said he wants to leave the Bavarian giants.

Martinez was a key figure for Ajax last season, making 36 appearances in all competitions and helping them to the league title and a runners-up finish in the Dutch Cup.

Ten Hag managed Martinez for three seasons at Ajax after the player moved to the Netherlands from Argentinian side Defensa y Justicia in May 2019. He made 118 appearances in all for the Dutch club.

Capped seven times by Argentina, he would bolster United's defence, which conceded 57 goals last term - the most among the top six.

He could also give the manager an extra option in midfield after the departures of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic.

United, currently on their pre-season tour in Australia, finished sixth last season. They open the new campaign at home to Brighton on Aug 7.

As for Lewandowski, he said at the end of May that "it is certain that my story with Bayern has come to an end".

Lewandowski, twice voted Fifa men's player of the year, is reported to be set to sign a four-year contract with Barcelona.

"The striker has planned to arrive today (Saturday) in Barcelona to undergo his medical examination and sign for four seasons," Catalan newspaper Sport reported.

"The Polish player will not be at the presentation of the Bavarian team today," said Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo, adding that the 33-year-old will join the Spanish team for their tour of the United States from July 18-31.

Bayern had only offered Lewandowski a one-year extension to his contract, which expires in the summer of 2023, according to the German media.

The Poland international was also unhappy with the salary offered and had clashed with the Bavarian club's coach Julian Nagelsmann, over his tactical choices.

Lewandowski joined Bayern in 2014, scoring 344 goals in 375 competitive matches and broke the Bundesliga single-season scoring record.

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