From “Waste of Money” to Most Valuable U21 Player in the world!

The player once tagged “waste of money” by a certain tabloid, has just been announced as the most valuable U21 player in the world. Anthony Martial, who came to the premier league on the back of a deadline day deal was written off by the media for the high transfer cost, even before playing a single minute of a game. But there won’t be one United fan who will want to reverse that deadline day business. Such has been the contribution of the Frenchman to United that for a lot of fans, he was the only positive that came out of the last season. Relatively unknown at the start of his journey as a United player, it was bound to raise eyebrows looking at his reported buying cost. As usually happens with such signing, the player not only had the pressure of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world but also to justify his hefty signing cost. There will be very few who will argue about his potential one year down the line now.

Soccerex and Prime Time Sports, the same media outlet who has now ranked Martial as the most valuable U21 player, had concluded, that United paid far more than they should have as per their report. Esteve Calzada, CEO of Prime Time Sports,  made these claims on basis of their transfer review and said:

‘The week before [United signed Martial] there were rumours Barcelona would take him [Martial] for £14.6m.”

The Soccerex and Prime Time Sports report last year, had Martial at 17th and the Frenchman’s meteoric rise to the top only means one of two things, at least as per Calzada

“We valued him based on statistics and we valued him at 16m Euros [£11.6m] . That means one of two things – either we made a very bad valuation or, on the other side, the market has gone crazy!

“On paper I would say it’s a very expensive signing for a very young player but, over time, we will see whether or not it is a good buy because we have seen 650m Euros spent on players who were not successful [in recent seasons].”

Prime Time Sport’s Soccerex report this year, has calculated Martial’s worth to be around £39.7 m which not only takes him to the top of the list but also proves that his stock has only gone north since his debut at Old Trafford. The former Monaco player is accompanied by only three other Premier League youngsters in Dele Alli, his United team-mate Marcus Rashford, and Kelechi Iheanacho. These rankings, or “Prime Time Sport Football Value Index” as they are called, are decided on the basis of various different sporting aspects of the player like age, position, minutes played, goals, injuries and technical quality etc. taken from multiple sources. The young Frenchman scored 17 goals across all the competitions and was a key player in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, where he scored the dramatic late “Fergie time” winner. Before this, it was his equalizer which kept United in the game against West Ham United, which United won in the replay.

Only Schalke has more players included in the list than Manchester United, who along with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have two players each. United and Bayern have both their players in the top ten, which proves the club’s youth promotion and development capabilities. United as a club, along with its fans, have always thought of themselves as a club that makes superstars, rather than buying them. This Value Index is another proof of United doing just that. Some of the other players included in the report are Schalke midfielder Leroy Sane, who just edged out Renato Sanches, who came in third, by a couple million pounds.

Old Trafford, “Theatre of Dreams” as it is so famously and rightly called, has been a launching pad for a lot of superstars in the past two decades. From the famous “Class of ’92” to the more recent Cristiano Ronaldo, United have always been a dream for any young player. Will Martial be able to emulate all those superstars – only time can tell but he surely looks to be on the right track.

Written by Chinmay Padhye


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