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Erik Ten Hag Wants Manchester United Striker to Stay at Old Trafford Following an Impressive Pre-Season

Anthony Martial, Anthony Martial shines vs Liverpool, Liverpool United Player Ratings, Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United

As per latest reports, new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has asked the club not to sell Anthony Martial this summer. The Frenchman has started in all the four pre-season games for the Red Devils under the Dutchman. He is the joint highest scorer alongside Jadon Sancho in pre-season with three goals.

The 26-year-old has been far from his best in the past two seasons. The French forward fell down the pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season and looked set to leave Old Trafford in this transfer window.

Anthony Martial, Manchester United, Ten Hag
(Photo by MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

United sent Martial on a six-month loan to Sevilla in the second half of last season. However, the move did not work out well for any of the parties involved as the striker scored only one goal while assisting just once in 12 appearances for the Spanish side across all competitions (stats via Transfermarkt).

Now, according to The Sun, Erik ten Hag has blocked the exit of Anthony Martial this summer. The Dutch manager has had constructive talks with the Frenchman and has decided on retaining the player’s services for the upcoming season.

The French forward is set to start the season as United’s number 9. The uncertain future of Cristiano Ronaldo alongside Martial’s impressive run of form in the pre-season games has cemented his place in the starting lineup for the initial matches of the upcoming season. The 26-year-old striker looked very energetic in all of his performances, leaving all the United fans confused.

The Red Devils supporters will happily take an in-form Martial but that raises questions over the position of the Portuguese striker. Martial, throughout his game against Liverpool, Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace, and Aston Villa has started in a central role in the front-three.

His pressing paid the dividend when he forced Liverpool’s defence to commit an error and he obliged by scoring a goal. Whether Ten Hag can extract the same level of performance from Ronaldo as that of Anthony Martial, remains a question.

Should Manchester United Trust Anthony Martial Again?

Since he arrived in 2015, Anthony Martial has had a mixed tenure at Manchester United. He has had a few good seasons leading the frontline but has also suffered long periods of drought in front of goal in many campaigns.

Especially in the last two seasons, the Frenchman seemed disinterested at times while playing without the ball. He even failed in tucking away easy chances throughout the previous two campaigns. Those missed chances might have had some impact on United’s season-end results.

Anthony Martial
Image obtained via NDTV Sports

Despite scoring 23 goals in all competitions in the 2019-20 season, he failed to continue his form in 2020-21. He scored only 7 goals while appearing 36 times for United across all competitions (stats via transfermarkt). Usually, players are expected to continue their form when they have supposedly peaked in their career. But Martial’s form deteriorated and the way he responded to the dearth of goals was appalling.

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The French forward has a contract with the Red Devils till 2024. If United chose to sell the player, then they could use those funds to get a new striker from the market. However, Erik ten Hag has decided to go against it and wants to keep Anthony Martial. The Dutch manager believes that he can get even more out of the French player.

Erik ten Hag’s beliefs are backed by Martial’s recent performances in the pre-season. Not only has he scored goals but he has also pressed well and linked up nicely with his teammates. The fans also have started to believe that the player now has a better future under a manager who has a positive approach. Not only Martial but the whole attacking department has looked lively under the Dutchman in the first four matches.

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