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Will Manchester United fan favourite Anthony Martial ever live up to the hype?

The future is definitely an exciting one for Manchester United when you weigh up some of the young, promising players at the club. There are multiple top class prospects at the club, especially in the attacking areas of the field, namely Marcus Rashford, Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes, all young flair attackers filled that came through the youth set up, with potential and talent just waiting to be unleashed.

One man at the club who didn’t come through the United youth set-up is French winger Anthony Martial. The 23-year-old was brought to the club by Louis van Gaal for a hefty £54 million on deadline day in the summer of 2015, a decision which brought with it uncertainty from many United fans regarding the sizeable fee.

Immediately Martial lit up Old Trafford, bringing pace, flair and a fearless attitude to the United side. The questions surrounding the price tag United paid for the former Monaco man were beginning to be answered. He was the main threat for Van Gaal’s side that season, baggingeleven goals in the league and contributed to seven in a winning FA Cup run, including the crucial semi-final goal against Everton that dragged United to the final. He had started to become a fan favourite at the club after a more than impressive debut season in England.

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It was far from ideal for Martial’s game then when Van Gaal was given the boot by United and replaced by Jose Mourinho. Mourinho was not exactly known for his teams playing attacking, exuberant, attractive football, but what he did bring with him was a reputation for getting results on the pitch. Unfortunately for the Frenchman, Mourinho has always favoured players that have the willingness to graft and work hard over those with bundles of talent and flair on the ball.

His appearances became less frequent under the new boss and when he was given a chance, often the team’s style of play would not suit him, leading Martial to make quite a few mistakes or have little to no impact on a game. Mourinho was ruthless nonetheless, and more often than not, after an unconvincing performance, he would be left to sit on the bench the following week.

Understandably, this affected the player’s confidence, and while still displaying the odd flash of brilliance, he would often drift out of games for long periods of time. This reflected in his output as well, only managing four Premier League goalsin the Portuguese man’s first campaign in charge, and just one on a run all the way to UEFA Europa League glory.

Things slightly improved the following season, with the winger make a similar number of appearances but contributing to more goals. His league tally increased to nine, while chalking up five assists also. Despite this, it was still obvious to all that Martial had much more in the locker, but was being held back and having his attacking influence curbed to a certain extent by the team’s cautious approach at times and the player not being given an extended run in the team.

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Mourinho was finally given his marching orders in December by the United board and replaced on a caretaker basis by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Many felt Martial’s career potential and expected rise to becoming a world class player had been almost halted for two and a half years while Mourinho was in charge.

Solskjaer has effectively taken the shackles off this team and given exciting players like Martial the green light to express themselves and show their ability. Some of his best moments in a United shirt have come since the change of manager, but despite this, inconsistency remains a problem for the Frenchman. He still holds a real admiration among certain sections of the United fan base, who are hopeful he will prove any doubters wrong and become one of the world’s best.

He is in danger of being left behind by other exciting talents of a similar age, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Kylian Mbappe just to name a few. The hype surrounding Anthony Martial remains strong, but the questions remain also of whether he will make that step up to the next level as a player and truly live up to the hype.

Written by Jack Grady

Anthony Martial signs new long-term contract at Manchester United

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has signed a new long-term contract at the Old Trafford club which will see him remain at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2024, with the option of a further year. Martial was signed by Louis van Gaal on deadline day in the summer of 2015 for an initial fee of £36 million. Since signing for the club, Martial has made a total of 162 appearances for United, scoring 46 goals – his first was against Liverpool on his debut.

Under Jose Mourinho, Martial was not the player he was under Van Gaal and there were many suggestions that he could leave the club, which looking at his early talent at the club, would have been a mistake. United will be better to keep the Frenchman at the club, which is what they have done under caretaker manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Martial was a big miss against Burnley on Tuesday evening, due to injury and hopefully, he will be available to face Leicester City on Sunday.

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Speaking about his new long-term contract at the Theatre of Dreams, Martial, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“I am loving my time at this club. From the day I joined I have been made to feel part of the United family and I have been incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the warmth and love of our fans, who continue to amaze me with their support.

“I would like to thank Ole and his coaching staff for their belief in me and for helping me to take my game to the next level.  This club is all about winning trophies and I am sure the next piece of silverware is not that far away.”

Solskjaer also had some words to say about Martial on the signing of his new contract, saying:

“Anthony is one of those naturally gifted players that any coach would love to work with. For a young man, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his exceptional talent, makes for a player with an exciting future ahead of him.

“This is the perfect club for Anthony to progress his development as a top-class forward and we are all delighted he has signed a long-term deal.”

The words from Martial suggest that he is still loving it at the Old Trafford club and seemingly always has. He is a fans favourite and the majority of supporters, if not all, would love to see him reach the pinnacle of world football during his time at United. When he was signed from AS Monaco, there is a clause about him winning the Ballon d’Or, which would mean United would owe Monaco more money. I am sure they would be happy to pay that though if it happened.

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The arrival of Solskjaer, who replaced Mourinho, has seen nearly every player at the club seem a lot happier. The free-flowing attacking football has started to return and there is excitement surrounding matches now, which was not ever-present under Mourinho. One thing that Martial stated was the fact he wanted to win trophies, which is what Manchester United is all about. It goes to show that trophies are ‘not just good for the ego’.

Solskjaer praised Martial, suggesting that he has a natural talent and that he’s a player many coaches would like to work with. It makes me think about the things that could come from Martial, United and Solskjaer during the remainder of the season. Hopefully, the hierarchy has now fully understood what this club is about and after nearly six years of mistakes, it is now time to let the real Manchester United arise and show the footballing world what they are capable of.

Manchester United forward to be rewarded with new long-term contract – reports

It has been reported that Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is set to be offered a new long-term contract at the Theatre of Dreams. It has been said that the player has rejected a contract previously, which was reported by his agent during the summer, after seemingly being in talks with the club for eight months. The terms offered then are reported to be around the £160,000 a week mark, with current reports stating the new offer will be around £190,000 a week.

Martial, after many reported bust-ups with United manager Jose Mourinho, has recently found his form, scoring five goals in his last six matches for the club, also earning a call-up to the France squad for the upcoming international break. The player is currently in his last year at United, although as part of his original contract, signed back in September 2015, a one-year option could yet be activated, stopping the player from leaving on a free in the summer.

The French international was seemingly not happy last summer, choosing to reject a new contract which saw him being linked with a number of clubs in the summer, including Juventus, who United beat 2-1 at the Allianz Stadium in Turin on Wednesday evening, but they later signed Cristiano Ronaldo. Reports emerged after United beat Juventus which suggested the club were again interested in the player. Martial has the talent to become one of the best players in world football, which we all want him to become.

United were reluctant to sell Martial in the summer, seemingly because they knew the talents the player has and the fact he could become a Ballon d’Or winner in the future, which was one of the clauses added into the contract when United signed the player from AS Monaco in 2015. Reports in the media suggest that Martial could be offered a new contract soon, with talks set to begin, which could be sorted out before Christmas, which would be good for the club and the player.

The Sun has published quotes from an apparent Old Trafford source, who allegedly said:

“It would cost us £100m to replace Anthony at least, his future has to be here at United. There have been encouraging signs a deal can be done and also having the 12-month option has crystallised thinking on both sides of the negotiations. United always finds the money when it is in the best interests of the club, and keeping Martial is a top priority at this current time.”

Martial is a player, that when played in the right position, to his strengths, can turn on the magic and become that player capable of devastating the opposition defence. Every United supporter has seen that during his time at the club, which is not something that is happening at every opportunity. Martial’s faction of supporters have blamed the manager, whoever it has been at the time, for his short comings, which looking back is even more cringeworthy.

It is only a matter of time before something happens in this contract scenario. Hopefully, United end up securing the long-term future of the Frenchman. Perhaps him leading the line for United, with Romelu Lukaku out of form and Alexis Sanchez seemingly injured, which could be a great option for the Frenchman ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon, which could be the end of a good week for United.

Jose Mourinho owes Anthony Martial central role run

Anthony Martial’s resurgence at Manchester United has come at the perfect time for Jose Mourinho – perhaps even saving the Portuguese’s job in the Old Trafford dugout.

Martial cut a frustrated figure in his first two seasons under Mourinho after displaying huge promise in his debut campaign under the management of Louis van Gaal. Reports suggested that the 22-year-old wanted to leave the club during the summer, although a transfer away never came to fruition.

The Frenchman started the campaign on the periphery of the side, struggling to make an impact. His fortunes changed when Mourinho opted to replace another player failing to fire – Marcus Rashford – for United’s clash against Newcastle United on home soil.

Early goals from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto put the Magpies into a 2-0 lead, leaving Mourinho on the brink. The Red Devils could not afford to drop further points off the top four of the Premier League. Juan Mata started the comeback with a delightful free-kick, but there was still work to be done to rescue the game.

Martial picked his moment to shine by weaving through the Newcastle defence before planting a strike past Martin Dubravka to notch the equaliser. Alexis Sanchez headed home a winner in stoppage time to snatch the three points in a result that the club may look back at the end of the campaign with huge significance.

The 22-year-old produced an excellent performance on the road against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, almost winning the match single-handed for the Red Devils. Only Ross Barkley’s late equaliser denied United the three points. However, Martial’s goal has proved crucial in tight wins over Everton and Bournemouth, with the Frenchman taking his tally to six strikes on the term.

United have reeled off a four-match unbeaten run to propel themselves back into the race for the top four, currently being backed at 5/2 in the Premier League betting odds to secure a Champions League place for next season, although there is still plenty of work ahead of Mourinho and his team.

Martial has proven that the Portuguese should have put more faith in his ability sooner through the middle of the team. Romelu Lukaku has not been firing on all cylinders, while Sanchez and Rashford have not been prolific in front of goal.

The 22-year-old has displayed the all-round game needed to succeed in the Premier League. His pace alone terrifies defenders as seen against Newcastle and Chelsea. The Frenchman also has precise clinical edge in the final third to find the back of the net, scoring curling strikes as well as predatory efforts like his goal against Bournemouth.

Mourinho owes it to Martial to persist with him for a lengthy run of games through the middle of the line due to the quality of his performances. Should the forward continue to operate at a high level then it could be the difference between reaching the top four or not. Without the Frenchman, United and Mourinho were heading down a very dark path that could have set the club back a long way.

The Mysterious case of Anthony Martial

On 1st September 2015, Manchester United completed the signing of Anthony Martial from Monaco for £38 million. It was just a week later that The Mirror ran the headline “What a waste of money,” referencing a report that suggested United paid at least three times over the price of the young forward. With such a large price tag and being seemingly unknown, the nineteen-year-old Martial had a lot of pressure on his shoulders. However, nobody (other than Louis van Gaal and his coaching staff) would have foreseen the instant impact Martial would have made on his debut against rivals Liverpool.

Entering the fray and putting the game away with a wonderful solo effort, Martial would go on to score seventeen goals in forty-nine appearances in his debut season. Frankly, he was putting the world on notice that another fantastic young talent was ready to make a name for himself at United. Fast forward to 2018 and Martial has started the season on the bench (albeit after one game only) and is reportedly out of favour with manager Jose Mourinho. It is clear to see that Martial has promise and talent but is United the best place to fulfil this talent?

Following a successful first season under Louis van Gaal, Martial had to adjust to having a new manager and understanding new ideas. Firstly, he was no longer Manchester United’s number 9, that was given to Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Martial taking number 11. Although the number carries the same weight of expectation if not more due to the Great Ryan Giggs being the longest owning predecessor. Martial still had a right to feel aggrieved at the loss of number, it was as if Mourinho showed an initial distrust in Martial’s ability to lead United to the next level.

Every Manager is different and has different demands, the 2016/17 season saw Martial struggling to adapt to these demands. This was evident by the fact that he only made eighteen starts under Mourinho in the Premier League. The lack of consistency can be attributed to his poor return of four League goals. In addition to this, there was the added pressure when public criticism was directed at Martial by Mourinho, this was magnified in the media and led fans to believe that the fan favourite was growing disgruntled at Old Trafford. Before United’s quarter-final against Anderlecht, Jose Mourinho said:

“Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes. But he needs to give me things that I like.”

This was in reference to a lack of aggression and intensity from Martial especially on the defensive end in games. Inconsistency on the pitch in results and performances magnified the view that Martial was struggling. His work-rate and tactical discipline was not of the level Mourinho required and he was making that clear. When watching Martial during the 2016/17 season you were treated to a microcosm of his United career. A moment of brilliance was oft followed by one of frustration or absent-mindedness.

It was once unthinkable but rumours of Martial being shipped on loan to Sevilla were rife midway through the season. It was only once these were quashed that Mourinho felt he could trust Martial more. Whether that was out of genuine appreciation for his talents or necessity (United were preparing for the business end of their UEFA Europa League campaign), fans were beginning to see the Martial that took the world by storm when he joined United. A UEFA Europa League and the EFL Cup accompanied a somewhat disappointing season for United and Martial.

The summer departures of Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney alongside the arrival or Lukaku meant renewed hope for Martial. Having been kept at Old Trafford by Mourinho, Martial once again set out to prove the potential that his manager had shown in him. An upturn in his form was evident through his early goals at the beginning of the 2017/18 season. His dribbling skills and end product were highlighted long before the first competitive ball was kicked 2017.

A great example was when he twisted Dani Carvajal inside out before teeing up Jesse Lingard for an easy tap-in during United’s pre-season tour of America. Martial possesses talents that no other United attacker has when it comes to his dribbling and ability to work his way out of tight spaces. His stellar season was reaping benefits for United but the arrival of Alexis Sanchez on a free transfer from Arsenal seemed to be a turning point. The stats will support this notion as his minutes, assists, and minutes per goal all fell after the Chilean’s arrival.

Of his 21 involvements in goals (11 goals and 10 assists) last campaign, only one involvement came post-Alexis Sanchez (an assist for Romelu Lukaku). His margin for error that allowed him to flourish before January was no longer there and what would follow would be a longer period on the sidelines. By the Summer Martial had lost his place in the French squad which would go onto win the World Cup and this left his agent publicly stating that his client would like to leave United.

Having seen the likes of; Adnan Januzaj, Memphis Depay, and Paul Pogba leave at such a young age to only rebuild their careers, United were not prepared to let Martial go knowing the promise he still has. There had to be a middle ground that they could find. Martial began pre-season playing as a sole striker whilst the World Cup travellers were away and Mourinho made do with what he had. The birth of his second child derailed his preparation for the new season but he is now back and seemingly raring to go if his social media is anything to go by.  

Still only 22, and still with the world at his feet, Martial has all the right tools to succeed at Manchester United. A fan base that adores him, a manager that (whatever anyone says) is willing to give him a chance, the ability to beat a man and score goals; which is surprisingly rare in modern football, and most importantly, time on his side. Should he stay at United and fight for his place, there is no doubt amongst the footballing world that he will become a world-class asset to United.

Once he gets a chance, will he have the killer instinct to grasp it and never let it go? The world is at his feet, what he chooses to do with it is about to be seen.

Written by Oscar Quaye

Manchester United need to solve the Anthony Martial problem before it causes irreparable damage

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is set to battle with the Old Trafford club over a transfer. It was revealed by the Frenchman’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, that Martial wanted to leave the Theatre of Dreams this summer, despite having 12 months left on his current deal. United, however, are reportedly uninterested in selling the player, although some reports suggest that Jose Mourinho would be interested in selling the player. In an exclusive report by The Sun, which could be utter rubbish like other things reports in the paper, suggest Martial wants to stay in the Premier League.

If United sold the player, it would be to a club not in the Premier League but Martial, if these reports are true, seems intent on getting what he wants. Imagine that, the player, despite falling from grace over the last season, seemingly sulking more often than not, rejected a new long-term contract at the club and now feels that he should be respected. If he held any respect for the club that gave him a chance in the first place, it would not be so bad. Martial has been a good player for United since he arrived but his Nicolas Anelka-like sulking has taken the lightning from his thunder.

United hold all the cards at this moment in time with the player signing a four-year contract on his arrival on deadline day in 2015, with United also adding a clause for another year to be added. If that happens, not only will United retain value on their player but they could also make him remain at the club for two more years, which literally gives him nothing when negotiations come in. If United let Martial leave this summer, it would be on their terms, rather than his. This summer might have been different for him if he had pulled his socks up and did what was asked of him.

Martial’s fan club, Martial FC will tell you that Mourinho is responsible for the 22-year-olds downfall because he does not rate him. There might be some truth in that, only some as Mourinho does not seem to rate him but that is down to the fact that he was not doing what he was asked to do on the pitch. Mourinho tasks players to get involved in defensive duties also. Romelu Lukaku does it, Alexis Sanchez does it, even Marcus Rashford does it. When it comes to Martial, he must feel that he’s above all that and largely does not bother. That is a problem.

When the France squad was announced ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, once Martial had been overlooked, Martial FC immediately blamed Mourinho. It’s like this section of United’s fan base, which has become rather toxic on social media over the last five years, are all children with a major lack of common sense. Reacting like they did is pathetic. It’s not Mourinho’s fault that Martial did not become a World Cup winner, that is on the player. Sir Alex Ferguson treated players similarly if they did not fight for the team, is it his fault some of those players faltered after leaving United?

Martial clearly is not a team player and feels he should be treated in a much higher regard, that might be why Juventus, who were linked with Martial for a long period of time really did not get involved in trying to lure the player away from the Theatre of Dreams. On signing Cristiano Ronaldo, that literally ended a long-standing rumour in the media. If Martial was this ‘world beater’ his fans say he is, why are Real Madrid and Barcelona not after him? Surely if he was that good he would have multiple offers coming through his agent? That doesn’t seem to be the case.

The report states that Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea are both keen on signing Martial. Spurs are seeking to address their attacking options this summer with Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente seemingly heading for the exit door and Lucas Moura failing to perform after his winter move to the club. Chelsea has reportedly kept an eye on the Frenchman but the fact that Willian, who they were trying to keep from the clutched of Barcelona this summer, now seems to be staying at Stamford Bridge, for now at least, could change that.

Obviously, United would be stupid to allow a player such as Martial to leave for a club considered as a rival, which suggests selling him to a foreign club would be the only option but are there any takers for him this summer. Richarlison recently transferred from Watford to Everton in a deal which could eventually be worth £50 million, paying £35 million initially, meaning that Martial should be worth a lot more. Wilfried Zaha has recently had a £70 million price tag put on him by Crystal Palace and is seemingly a target for Chelsea.

During the pre-season tour of the United States of America, even though it is unfair to judge performances because it is a training, not a competitive environment, Martial has not restored any faith in his performances despite playing in a role he apparently favours, playing as the main striker in a central position. I get the impression that Martial cares little for the club. Some will tell you that it is a lack of creativity, which is present on the pre-season tour with all the first team players missing after the World Cup but if Martial wanted to succeed, he would at least try.

I think keeping this unhappy Martial at the club will end up causing more damage than anything else and if the club has aspirations to succeed, they let him go this summer. There is only one thing that would change that for me and that would need to be a complete change of attitude from the player himself, and without a transplant, I don’t think that is possible. It makes you wonder why the player thinks the way he does. Could it be the fact Martial FC have him down as the best player in the world before he really has achieved anything! There are reasons he’s not in the top ten of top players, his attitude is the main factor.

Anthony Martial can be one of the best players in the world, this is what he needs to focus on becoming…

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has stated that he feels teammate Anthony Martial can become ‘one of the best players in the world’. During the past season, the Frenchman did not have the best time under manager Jose Mourinho which led to him being benched more often than not and when given a chance to show his abilities, he rarely did so. Many blame his poor performances on the arrival of Alexis Sanchez which, all said and done, should bring the best out of any player but it did not do that with Martial, who ended up not being part of France squad which won the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley has previously stated that the player wants to leave the Old Trafford club this summer, however, United do not seem all that keen on selling the player. A month or so ago, many journalists would have you believe that Martial was going to sign for Juventus this summer but the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have suggested the Italian giants were not interested in the Frenchman and with the lack of professionalism shown by the player last season, why would they be?

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United signed Martial from AS Monaco on deadline day in the summer of 2015 and at the time, journalists, pundits, and other ABUs mocked United for spending £36 million on the relatively unknown Frenchman. Immediately, because United had spent what seemed like a lot of money on a teenager, it would always be a waste of money. After the international break, Martial made his debut at Old Trafford against Liverpool in the Premier League, scoring and announcing himself in the world of football. Of course, journalists referred to the total amount that could be spent on the player – £56 million, not the £36 million spent.

Martial has cost United around £8 million since signing, making the total outlay so far to about £44 million or thereabouts. He is now into the last year of his contract, although United have the option of adding another year to his current deal, therefore keeping him at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2020. There seems little interest in selling the player, where Ed Woodward is concerned with reports suggesting that he could be a star in the making, therefore could be a regret if United ever sold him.

Last season, Martial started in good form, scoring five goals in the first eight matches of the season, in all competitions. Martial scored six more goals before the end of January, which was all for the season. Many will say he was in frightening form before Sanchez arrived, which is partly true but there were long spells of nothing from the Frenchman, which is something which is easy to forget for those with an agenda. Sanchez was brought in to strengthen Martial’s position and possibly to buck up his ideas, which have so far not worked. Herrera, speaking about Martial and his potential so far this summer, said:

“He’s very talented. He can be one of the best players in the world and I think he is very focused this season to smash it.

“When you have players like Anthony, like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, those kind of players that can change the game.”

“If one of them cannot play, we have three or four more so we have lots of options. I think we shouldn’t think that any other club in the Premier League has better players because at least we have as good as the opponents.

“Now it’s all about work, confidence, about keep playing like he did today. I am confident with them because they are all amazing players and Anthony looks very sharp.”

Martial has a big season ahead of him, whether that is at United or elsewhere. He will need to find the professionalism which will help him succeed as a top player. If he takes offence at other players coming in to add competition in a squad, nothing is ever going to head in the direction he wants. The grass is never always greener on the other side and the lack of fight may prove him to be a weak link for any club he plays for if he continues in the direction he is going, which is sure to turn him into Nicolas Anelka 2.0.

Martial is a class player and has the world at his feet. Most of the fans who support him seem to give him too many excuses for poor performances. The one thing the last season has suggested is that he may not have what it takes to succeed at the club. I’m sick of seeing all these players who need cuddles rather than being told they need to work harder and sulking on the sidelines. Also, players who need to have everything their way is something that should not be present in the game. Life is never like that so why should it be manufactured for them?

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If he remains at United, of course, he will have my support and I am sure every United supporter will be behind him. Mourinho suggested at the end of the season that if he remained a United player, he would play more football in a central role with Mourinho seeking to take some pressure off Romelu Lukaku. Martial started as the striker against Club America in the club’s first pre-season match of the summer and could remain in the role for tonight’s match against San Jose Earthquakes, which will commence at 22:00 BST in the United Kingdom.

I would like to see Martial brush off what he went through last season, possibly look at the support he was given in Mourinho’s first season at the club at a time whereby he was going through some personal issues. Support is give-and-take, but so far, Martial has given very little. If he sorts out his attitude and realises that if he digs deep, knuckles down and performs to his own abilities, which on his day are immensely high, the world could be his oyster. His pace, vision and the ability to score goals galore will be something that propels him to the top of his game.

I hope he takes his chances and proves that he is the player United want and need. This coming season, if he remains at United, this is the minimum that he needs to do. Kick back all the criticism, cast it all out of his mind and have one goal – becoming the best player in the world. It will cost United more money but if that happens, it is because he has what it takes to succeed and is doing just that. United and more importantly, the supporters of the club would embrace that. We all want Martial to succeed but the overpraise he has received is just not due – not yet anyway.

Written by Dave Preston

Tottenham Hotspur quoted ‘silly prices’ amid interest in Anthony Martial

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has already suggested, albeit through his agent, that he wants to leave the Old Trafford club this summer. United have suggested that they do not want to sell the player, and have been in negotiations for eight months over a new contract, which has seemingly not been agreed between the player, his representatives and the club. Martial has been linked to Juventus for some time now and another team credited with interest is Tottenham Hotspur.

The Manchester Evening News has reported that Spurs have been quoted ‘silly prices’ for the 22-year-old who United signed for an initial fee of £36 million on deadline day in the summer of 2015. The overall fee paid for Martial rose to £44.4 million after Martial scored his 25th goal for United against Burnley in 2017, meaning an additional £8.4 million had to be paid to AS Monaco. The overall fee could rise to £56 million in total, a figure which Martial is valued as much higher than in the current market.

United have reportedly been trying to do business with Spurs this summer for Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld with United seeking to invest £55 million in the 29-year-old who has refused to sign a new contract with the North London club and will, in a year’s time, be allowed to leave for £25 million based on a clause in his contract. Spurs, however, have demanded around £70 million for Alderweireld, which is a figure United a reluctant to pay. I guess Spurs like to play these games themselves but do not like to be on the receiving end of them?!?!

It is suggested by the Manchester Evening News, albeit via their sources, that the situations for both Martial and Alderweireld could ‘rumble on and on’ with the fact that neither player wants to sign a new contract and the transfer window closing on the 9th August 2018, before the new Premier League season starts. United manager Jose Mourinho has adopted a stance whereby id a player wants to leave the club, he will not stand in the way of that player from getting their wish, however, the club will make the final decisions as to what happens.

United will not want to sell Martial for a small fee and will hold out for a bumper transfer figure, which is what they deem the player to be worth. Whether that happens remains to be seen. If Martial was really one of the best players in the world, why are clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich not interested in the player? Those who worship Martial will tell you that Mourinho and the arrival of Alexis Sanchez have ruined him. They have a great story ready to be told whenever you go against their opinions.

They will even tell you that Martial was named the Manchester United Player of the Month three times, which is obviously an award akin to the Ballon d’Or. The fact that it is voted for by United supporters on Twitter and through the Manchester United website is irrelevant. The fact he is the player to be awarded these things three times means more. It is not as if Martial FC could hijack that voting system and get all Martial’s fans to vote now. That would be pathetic, wouldn’t it?

Martial is heading into his last year at United but there was a clause inserted to add another year to his deal, meaning he could be stuck at United until the summer of 2020. Alderweireld has a similar clause in his contract. This will enable both clubs to gain what they can for each player this summer, whether they both leave, or just one of them leaves. Maybe both will remain at their clubs into next season. Who knows.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino has shown interest in Martial before, just before United signed the Frenchman. United also blew Chelsea out of the water to sign the player in 2015, when the club was led by Louis van Gaal. United have been preparing for the eventual loss of Martial with Willian being targeted by the Old Trafford club. Even Gareth Bale has been linked with an exit from Real Madrid, which seems less likely now they have a new manager and the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo could exit the club instead.

Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley confirmed that his client would be seeking an exit from United this summer earlier this month. The quotes confirmed that United and the player were in negotiations for eight months and that there was no agreement. There was a sarcastic suggestion that ‘the most powerful club in the world’ did not find agreement in eight month, suggested that United did not want to make Martial an important player. Lamboley said:

“After thinking about all the possibilities, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United. When Manchester United, which is the most powerful club in the world, does not find an agreement in eight months of negotiations, it is that it does not really want to make him an important player.”

“It is a well-considered decision. He is under contract, United will have the last word and we will respect the decision of the club, it will go to the end of its commitment.

“We do not have the same vision on Anthony’s future. Without the unconditional support of the fans, Anthony would have already asked to leave United.

“I will not comment on the consequences of the January transfer window. Everyone will have his opinion, I think he must resume the course of his career. The time has come.”

Martial is a great talent. Don’t get me wrong. He has the talent, skill, and pace to make the breakthrough at any club. One thing he does not possess is the will of determination. If he did, he would sit down, stop moaning and sulking and find a way to get back in contention at the club. The fact his agent has, albeit sarcastically suggested United did not want to make Martial an important player suggests that the player’s demands were not something the club wanted to find agreement with.

Anthony Martial really is starting to make himself look like Nicolas Anelka 2.0. If he does not get his own way, he sulks, moans and does all he can to show it. That is not a football player who wants to achieve anything at the highest level. This is the moans and games of a quitter. Martial has everything he needs to get himself into contention by playing his football. He has had chances to do that but failed to state a case for himself. Alexis Sanchez was brought in to add more depth to the squad and more competition. Competition should bring out the best of all players.

Sanchez has offered more on the pitch than Martial has, although he had not hit the ground running. Martial had a chance to entertain in the Emirates FA Cup final against Chelsea but even failed to do that, adding more frustration than anything else. This summer, if Martial is to remain at United, he will need to earn his chances not moan and sulk until he gets one. If you can impress the manager with your performances, it will be hard for the manager to drop him. Blaming Mourinho and Sanchez for his own faults shows the mentality is not where it should be with him.

Anthony Martial can provide the striker depth Manchester United seek

Anthony Martial’s second season under Jose Mourinho was bittersweet. After a disappointing first year under the Portuguese in which issues off the pitch saw him struggle to find form, Martial got off to a fast start at the outset of this campaign.

A friendly competitive battle for the starting berth on the left flank of United’s attack between the Frenchman and teammate Marcus Rashford seemed to bring out the best in him. Whether it was in cameos off the bench or in a starting role, Martial flourished and by the end of January had netted 12 times while chipping in furthermore with six assists — an excellent return midway through the season.

Alas, following his winner against Burnley on January 20, Martial didn’t find the back of net again this season. This drop in form coincided with Alexis Sanchez’s arrival from Arsenal as the Chilean was inserted almost immediately into the starting lineup on the left-hand side of United’s attack. Martial was given opportunities to start on the right, where he struggled. He also had chances off the bench back out on the left, but he’d lost the spark which he’d started the campaign with.

Since Sanchez’s arrival rumors have rumbled on suggesting Martial’s future at the club in doubt. His lack of playing time since Sanchez’s arrival, a drop in form since that point and missing out on France’s World Cup squad all led to rampant speculation that Martial would be on his way out.

While there’s certainly interest in a player of his caliber from many clubs around Europe, United have shown no interest in selling. For now, it’s been noted that Martial remains in the manager’s plans for next season. Where would these minutes come though?

If reports are to be believed Mourinho has plans to deploy Martial more frequently in a central striker role. This is something the Portuguese has been reticent to do in the past as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Romelu Lukaku and Rashford have all been preferred to him.

Lukaku is likely to remain the club’s top choice striker, but there were points in the season where the lack of rotation seemed to burn him out. With Rashford struggling to lead the line in the Belgian’s absence at the end of the year Mourinho needs more options and Martial is one already available to him.

Martial often played centrally when he was at Monaco and initially did as well when he moved to Manchester under Louis van Gaal. While he hasn’t featured through the middle often under Mourinho he has performed well on the rare occasions he has been handed the opportunity.

Against Burnley last season he scored a brilliant goal on the counter in a comfortable 2-0 victory at Turf Moor. This season he scored a stunner from the edge of the box at Goodison Park in a 2-0 win over Everton.

If Mourinho opts to play with two up front, something he did this year when he had United set up with three at the back, Martial is more than capable of partnering with Lukaku. The duo linked up to devastating effect when called upon, most notably in a 4-1 drubbing of CSKA Moscow in which Martial scored one and setup two more for Lukaku. The two were again key in a dramatic 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Playing centrally also seems to suit Martial as it plays to his natural tendencies more. While he’s a very capable dribbler out wide his inclination is to drift inside to link up with others rather than maintain the width. It also keeps him closer to goal, where his cool demeanor makes him a very efficient finisher and while he’s not as adept as Lukaku with his back to goal, Martial’s touch and close control make him more effective than Rashford in holding the ball up.

Anthony Martial’s time at United has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. He burst onto the scene but hasn’t gone on to establish himself in the starting lineup under Mourinho. Still, at just 22 years old, his potential is immense and the talent unquestioned. United would be foolish to sell him at such a young age and if Martial keeps his head down he will have the opportunity to establish himself again next season.

Written by Ashwin Ramnath

Anthony Martial opens talks with Manchester United regarding new contract – reports

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has reportedly opened talks for a new contract at the Theatre of Dreams. It was suggested by the media, after a turbulent season for the Frenchman, which ended with him not being selected for the 23-man French squad ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer. Martial has been a peripheral figure at the club this season and after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January, the lack of fight from the 22-year-old was puzzling.

Martial currently has one year left, with a further year which could be added on. It is stated by The Sun that United may have a job to get the Frenchman to commit to the club for the long-term after falling short of the required standard that manager Jose Mourinho expects, which is fair enough. Those who think Martial was having a great season are somewhat mistaken as he has been inconsistent throughout and the sulking has been evident when he was not selected, even when given the chance, the fight was not there.

Normally, what another player who plays in a similar position is brought in, there is a rise of competition from other players and that added competition is good for the club but in this instance, it has not turned out that way, for Martial or for Sanchez. The Sun state that Martial’s lack of playing time this season has cost him a place in the French squad for the World Cup, but it is not just down to playing time. If Martial gave Mourinho a reason to keep him in the team, he would have been there and potentially could have been heading to Russia this summer.

In order to fight for a place for France in the future, Martial will need to up his playing time, this could be away from Old Trafford, or at the club, if he manages to sort himself out as it is not just a problem that has been caused by Mourinho, Martial has not helped himself either, especially not dropping back when he needs to, like Sanchez has done, also his attitude problems, which have been prevalent during his time at the club, and reported in-depth at times.

It has nearly been three years since Martial’s deadline day move in the summer of 2015, of which United have paid £57.6 million so far. There are Premier League teams interested in the Frenchman, Tottenham Hotspur being one of those. United would obviously be seeking the money they have already spent on the player, if he is to be sold, and rightly so, United would not be willing to sell to a Premier League rival. Juventus have been linked also but so far, there does not seem t be any concrete interest in the player if he is to be sold.

United are in a position of power right now, in effect having Martial contracted for two more years, however, in that time, Martial’s value could fall significantly meaning United will have to sell at a cut price, which in turn would bring all the media out, the same media who wrote the 19-year-old Frenchman off before he had even kicked a ball for United, which was promptly changed after scoring his debut goal on his debut at Old Trafford again Liverpool that season.

Martial managed 45 appearances in all competitions, scoring 11 goals and a further nine assists. At the start of the season, despite Martial not being a starter, coming off the bench late in games, swapping places with Marcus Rashford, it seemed to work well, with Martial starting and being replaced by Rashford in other matches. However, during the rest of the season, this form dwindled as United were knocked off the top spot by Manchester City and sat in second for the majority of the season, give or take the few times Liverpool topped them, for 48 hours or less.

Martial could be a great player for United, but he will need to be up for the fight as everything will not go to plan like he and his supporters, Martial FC seem to think. There will be times where other players look better fits for matches, times where form does not bring out the best of players and times where things need to be different. If Martial cannot sort that out, being a Manchester United player could be a thing of the past for him. If that happens, he will only have himself to blame.

copyright: JW