It’s hard to believe that 12 months ago a young French teenager came to Manchester United on the final day of the transfer window. What began was one of the most surprising and doubtful transfers of the year, has turned into one of the best transfer moves made by Manchester United as of recent years. Anthony Martial has made his £36 million transfer from Lyon look like an absolute bargain, if his first year was good, who knows what he can achieve in his second? The most expensive teenager in British football history was brought “for the next manager of Manchester United.” Louis van Gaal’s most successful signing scored 17 goals in a season wAS everything was going wrong, making Martial’s debut season even more spectacular than it looks.
One year later I am more than pleased to say that all my doubt was worth it. It’s somewhat hard to describe what Martial has done in a year, but if I were to sum it up, I would let Martin Tyler’ exceptional commentary of Martial’s debut goal against Liverpool: “Ohhh yes! Welcome to Manchester United! Anthony Martial!” In a season where there Red Devils failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, Martial became one of the few factors to look forward to, from a fan’s perspective. He has been able to adapt his game to the Premier League and the League Cup and done so in true Manchester United fashion, as shown by his last-minute winner against Everton in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final.
In a short amount of time, Martial has provided fans a number of great moments, and I am pleased to admit that watching his debut goal against Liverpool still gives me shivers. Coming to a new country, with a new language, and a new culture, as the next “What a waste of money” signing must have extremely tough for Martial to cope with, but he has fought against that pressure straight on from the get go. Anthony Martial went from scoring on his debut back in September to scoring his 17th of the season against West Ham United in one of the final games of the season. What makes it even better, is that this is another great example of Manchester United giving a young player with a ton of potential an opportunity to prove himself, and that is exactly what Martial has done. Showed his main strengths this season, he hits his stride from the get go, he makes space out of nothing, and lastly, his eyes showed there was only one thing on his mind, glory.
The future is undoubtedly bright for Anthony Martial, despite not being on the scoresheet so far this season. I believe that if he can score over 20-25 goals this season, he will officially become a success and yet another player who has defied the media and their criticism. Praise must be given to Louis van Gaal, who was able to develop Anthony Martial into a great player and give fans something positive to look to when we hit bad runs last season. Van Gaal made the most of Martial’s abilities, going as far as rotating him into all top four attacking positions at stages this past season, making it a doubt where Martial was going to play, and that came as an asset to Louis van Gaal in a variety of games.
At this very moment, Anthony Martial is guaranteed to start for Manchester United, as he has done so far this season. He is a liability to his Manchester United team-mates and is able to help the team when it is needed. Even judging by his performances so far this season, the future ahead is still bright. His rocky start can be narrowed to a couple of factors. Firstly, Martial has gone through the process of divorce at a young age, which will have its effects on his mindset. To make things worse, his playing time at this summer’s Euros was a lot less than expected, since Didier Deschamps placed him not only below Olivier Giroud in the pecking order, but under Antoine-Pierre Gignac as well, which may have made him second guess his style of play. In addition, I believe that it must not have been easy for him to hand the number nine jersey to Ibrahimovic, especially since he has been a star player with that number. Martial has not played his best football in the opening three games of United’s season. However, he has still been able to pick up two assists in the process, which shows how even in a bad period, he is still essential to the team and always finds a way to assist his teammates.