Let’s face it. It has been a rough year for Anthony Martial and Manchester United. While Martial could not feature in nearly half as many games as he would have liked to, United ended the season without any silverware.
Now, to top it all off, there is a strong possibility of Martial leaving United in this summer’s transfer window. Tottenham and Juventus are amongst the favorites to land the French winger.
Tottenham have a long-standing interest in Manchester United's wantaway striker Anthony Martial and are keen on him again this summer. (Source: SkySports) pic.twitter.com/itexmiNyOV
“After thinking about all the possibilities, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United.”
He has been further quoted as saying:
“I think that when Manchester United, which is the most powerful club in the world it must be remembered, do not find an agreement in eight months of negotiations, it is because they do not really want to make him an important member of the team. That’s the root of this decision. It is a well-considered decision.”
Martial's agent, Philippe Lamboley: "After thinking about all the possibilities and parameters, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United. I think that when Manchester United, the most powerful club in the world … do not find an agreement after eight months of negotiations, pic.twitter.com/5MoO8tFxOh
Whether this is all a ploy to get a new lucrative contract or not will be understandable in the future, but it cannot be denied that Martial has grown to be more and more frustrated with his treatment at the club.
When he first arrived in 2015, for £36 million, Martial took the Premiership by the scruff of the neck, setting the stage alight by scoring on his debut against big rivals Liverpool. His playing style drew comparisons with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry. Three years on, his growth has stagnated big time.
This season, he has shown his brilliance in flashes (read: great dribbling vs Real Madrid in pre-season friendly or superb goal vs Burnley) but has always been used in a bit-part role, never being utilized as the team’s main attacking option.
Anthony hasn’t been that bad though, scoring 8 times and assisting 5 in 30 premier league appearances, most of which came as off the bench appearances. Martial had a passing accuracy of 82% and shot accuracy of 50%. So, he still has the cold-blooded clinical lethality. With United’s acquisition of Lukaku and then Sanchez in January, both of Martial’s favored positions are currently blocked.
At such an young age(22), he has to be playing regularly, or he won’t blossom into a truly world class player. Consider the case of Kylian Mbappe. Both Martial and Mbappe have been prodigies, starting out young at Monaco. Both have similar raw talent as many would agree, but since Kylian Mbappe managed to clutch onto his starting role (both at Monaco and PSG and even the national side), his skills and market-value have kept on increasing exponentially. Moreover, Manchester United is being linked to the striker.
Martial’s case though, is a bit grimmer. Mourinho’s lack of trust in him even cost Martial a place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 French side, with the likes of Lemar and even Thauvin chosen ahead of him.
United haven’t had a natural dribbler with raw pace and clinical finishing on the left-wing since Cristiano Ronaldo abandoned the position. Martial still can and should succeed to that throne. Sanchez is already touching 30 and is not a long term solution.
Why United would not want to extend Martial’s contract and give him more playing time is beyond me, and indeed most United fans. Even Sky Sports believe that United want the French winger in their plans for the next season. Moreover, the club has other positions (such as the right wing) to solidify before they start thinking of selling young and promising talents.
SKY SOURCES: Manchester United are not looking to sell Anthony Martial this summer and forward remains part of their plans. #SSNpic.twitter.com/42OrRBFma7
If they do let Martial leave, and he goes to a club where he gets game time, the manager’s trust and fan support- he is bound to succeed. We have seen enough of him to know that he will. Then he might come back to haunt United. It will be akin to the Pogba saga. Perhaps I should cite Mo Salah or de Bruyne as more recent examples of Mourinho ‘rejects’.
Simply put, if the sale happens, it will be the biggest mistake United makes in the post-Fergie era.
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