Manchester United have agreed a £36 million (€50 million) according to Sky Sports. The 19-year-old striker, currently of AS Monaco has been released from international duty until Tuesday morning to tie up the transfer ahead of the closure of the transfer window in France and most of Europe this evening. Martial is experienced for his age, already playing in the UEFA Champions League and helping knock Arsenal out of the competition at the round of 16 stage last season.
So far this season, Martial has made seven appearances for Monaco, six starts and one substitute appearance, scoring one goal and assisting in a further two, having six shots on goal, two of those on target. Last season, the French international made 48 appearances for his club, 26 starts and 22 substitute appearances. Martial scored 12 goals, assisting a further three. He had 60 shots on goal, 29 of those on target.
The French Football Federation released this statement earlier today to confirm that the player had been allowed to leave his training camp ahead of the proposed move to Manchester United:
“He asked Didier Deschamps for the authorisation to travel to England to sign a contract with Manchester United. Given the exceptional circumstances, the coach has granted that authorisation to the player.”
Many will be wondering as to whether Martial will be eligible to play in the UEFA Champions League this season, being that he has played 83 minutes in the first leg of the third qualification round against Young Boys, winning 3-1, 70 minutes against the same side in the second leg, also scoring on the 70th minute, winning 4-0 (7-1 on aggregate). Martial also played 180 minutes in the two play off matches against Valencia, losing 3-1 in the first leg and winning 2-1 in the second leg, exiting the competition 4-3 on aggregate. The UEFA Champions League 2015/16 regulations state:
“A player who has been fielded in the first, second, third qualifying round or the play-offs of the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League is entitled to play in the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League for another club as from the group stage.”
Martial may not be that ‘big name signing’ many of you have been screaming out for, but he fits the clubs blueprint of giving youth a chance. Yes, he may not be a product of the clubs Academy, but at 19 years of age, to be considered as one of the main prospects from his country would give indications of Manchester United’s interest in the player. After the defeat to Swansea City on Sunday, United manager Louis van Gaal stated that the club would not be panic buying, also indicating that players the club had not previously scouted would be arriving at the club. It would seem that Manchester United have held a long interest in the player and have previously scouted him. Van Gaal said:
“No, it doesn’t have any effect. When you are scouting players, you already know in advance more than a month or two months which ones you can buy or not. It’s not that we are in a panic at the last moment. When you see the game, we were the dominant team but you have to score more and not concede the goals.”
When pushed for an answer as to whether the manager was happy with his current squad going into the season, Van Gaal stated:
“You can never speak as a club as Manchester United that you are satisfied because that depends on the process. But, certainly, we shall not buy at the end of the transfer period a player that we haven’t scouted before.
“We know in advance what is happening and what is not happening. It’s not an issue. We have to keep on and, in January, the window is open. It is a process and I cannot change the process. It is not only dependent on the player but the club. It is a lot of things that you cannot force.”
Martial has pace and in time could be one of the players that define this new era for Manchester United. He has been drawn in comparison for France and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, but to be honest, I think too many players are compared to past greats, this is normally done to give the young player a status, but goes against that sort of thing, especially when the player does not reach the dizzy height of that status placed on him. Anthony Martial is Anthony Martial, nobody else. We shall see how he performs during the international break, should he play of course. After that, he could play against Liverpool in his first match at Old Trafford, should the deal be brought over the line of course.