The Argentina international is the subject of interest from Arsenal and Manchester.
And Martinez says he has looked to emulate former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro rather than van Dijk.
"Cannavaro was comfortable on the ball. And, despite his lack of height, he challenged for every ball as if it was the last tackle to win the game," Martinez explained. "I loved that style – and I am just like him.
"I would prefer not to be like Virgil van Dijk. His height is certainly a big plus, but when you don't have the other qualities, it is worth nothing.
"My favourite position is definitely central defence. I started out as a midfielder, but I learned all the qualities for a central defender who plays in an attacking team under Erik ten Hag. I can look after myself."