West Ham United are apparently plotting an ambitious loan move in the upcoming transfer window, where they’ll ask Manchester United for either Marcus Rashford or Anthony Martial on loan.
West Ham has been poor in front of goal this season, scoring just 19 goals in 17 Premier League games. All summer the Hammers manager Slaven Bilic spoke of his need to sign a top quality striker. Simone Zaza made the switch to the Olympic Stadium from Juventus on loan in the summer, but he hasn’t set the league alight since making the move. This has left Bilic in the hunt for a striker yet again, which has now led to him turning to two of the world’s best young prospects, both of whom play for United.
Both Rashford and Martial have struggled at United this season, in comparison to their campaign under Louis van Gaal last season. Martial instantly endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful after his debut goal against Liverpool and continued to cement his place as a guaranteed started for the Red Devils, ending the season as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals. However, under Jose Mourinho he has been in and out of the team, failing to put in top quality performances consistently. Martial started his United career off as a striker, but as the season went on he was eventually used on the left-wing consistently. Partially as a result of the emergence of Marcus Rashford.
Rashford has had his game time this season limited due to the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimović. Ironically this has led to Rashford being deployed on the left-wing instead of up front, where he has been battling with Martial to receive game time. Rashford seems to have lost the Midas touch in recent weeks, as he’s not scored a goal since September, whereas last season it seemed that every time he took a shot it resulted in a goal!
The idea of sending Rashford out on loan sounds good in principle. He’s one of the best young players in the world, and he would receive game time every week at a smaller Premier League club. He would also likely be played through the middle, where he found his best form for United last season. However, the big problem with letting Rashford leave on loan is the fact that he is one of United’s only two senior strikers if you now class Martial as a winger. There are no strikers in the Under 23’s who could be called up if Ibrahimovic picked up an injury. Of course, Wayne Rooney or Martial could be played there if needed, but that would leave the team short of options in other areas.
West Ham must be aware that their chances of signing either Martial or Rashford on loan are very slim, especially with David Sullivan blaming United for being late to West Ham’s final game at Upton Park last season. The reason United were late for this game was because the West Ham fans attacked United’s team bus on route to the stadium. Sullivan’s attack on the club can not have helped relations between the two clubs, and his words could come back to haunt him now, as United would be fully justified in denying West Ham’s loan request for their two wonder kids.