Manchester United look like an entirely different team this season, and a huge chunk of the credit for this turnaround goes to their gaffer Erik Ten Hag.
The Dutchman looks to have revitalized the sleeping giant by injecting his footballing philosophy and disciplinary demands into the team, and as a result, United have been flying.
Of course, Ten Hag isn’t the only reason behind the success of this rebuild, as the Red Devils’ summer recruitment also deserves its fair share of the credit.
Among the players signed by the club is former Ajax defender and World Cup winner Lisandro Martinez, who alongside midfielder Casemiro, has probably been United’s most important bit of transfer business.
Playing under his former manager from Ajax, Martinez took little time to settle in at Old Trafford, and despite all the banal concerns surrounding his height, the defender has been a true colossus at the back.
The 25-year-old seamlessly slotted in alongside Raphael Varane as United’s primary defensive pairing, and that £56m price tag looming over his head began to look like a bargain soon enough.
Aggressive in duels, calm in possession and excellent on the ball, the Argentina International has it all, and he pairs his many attributes with a thug-like swagger.
Martinez is known to hassle opposition attackers at every opportunity and celebrate in their faces after every crucial moment, he’s slowly developing the so-called ‘aura’ you’d associate with the top bracket of defensive players.
In fact, his aggressive and unrelenting style of play is so revered at United that fans even handed him a cheeky nickname: ‘The Butcher’.
The United support also tried sneaking in a banner to commemorate the nickname, but sadly, it was deemed a little too violent for the stands.
Nevertheless, his reputation as United’s very own ‘hardman’ continues to thrive, and by the looks of it, even questionable apparel choices won’t diminish that swagger.
Our reasons for saying that have all to do with his tunnel fit for United’s EFL Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest last night.
Martinez started the 2-0 victory and put in a characteristically solid performance, but that wasn’t the only thing that caught the attention of fans online.
Pictures of his pre-match attire became a topic of discussion online, with the primary reason behind that being his glasses for the occasion.
Instead of a pair of shades, perhaps some fashionable visors, or even your standard set of spectacles, Martinez turned up to Old Trafford rocking the old-fashioned ‘Harry Potter’ frames.
You know the ones: round, plain and unassuming, famously seen on Daniel Radcliffe for the HP movies, and on John Lennon for basically his entire life.
The core shape of the frames have led to the popular perception that these glasses are worn by ‘nerds’, or the ‘bookish folk’ if you will.
Naturally, they certainly aren’t the correct match for a vocal, fearless and aggressive leader on the pitch, and fans pointed out the same online.
They also made a much more fitting comparison to Thomas Shelby, the cold and calculated protagonist of Netflix’s ‘Peaky Blinders’.
Despite the nerdy look, fans reasserted that it takes nothing away from his ‘Butcher’ persona.
By the looks of it, no matter what he wears, Martinez’s ‘thug’ reputation is going to stick.