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Anthony Martial and Manchester United: What Could Happen Next?

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Anthony Martial and Manchester United: What Could Happen Next?

In 2015, Manchester United signed Anthony Martial from AS Monaco for a fee of £54 million. The Frenchman joined United as a teenager and came with high expectations when he walked through the doors at Old Trafford.

He made the perfect start to his United career, coming off the bench to score against Liverpool to seal a 3-1 victory at home. He scooped up the 2015 Golden Boy award and went on to score 17 goals and register nine assists in his first season at United.

However, in the years that followed Martial’s impressive debut season, things haven’t necessarily worked out the way people may have expected. Injuries, lack of game time and, at times, a lack of form, are some of the main reasons why Martial has struggled in recent years at the club.

Undoubtedly Martial’s best season at Manchester United was the 2019/20 season. He scored 23 times in all competitions, including 17 in the Premier League, and registered 12 assists, with seven of those coming in the league. Martial also registered his first, and, to date, only, United hat-trick, against Sheffield United at Old Trafford.

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Anthony Martial celebrates with Marcus Rashford after opening the scoring against Burnley in December 2019 | Credit: Alamy
Anthony Martial celebrates with Marcus Rashford after opening the scoring against Burnley in December 2019 | Credit: Alamy

Most recently, Martial spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla; it was not a move that worked out for either party. Following a tough start to the season at United, where he only scored one goal and started just twice, he made the move to Spain.

However, Martial’s season did not improve, scoring just one goal for the Spanish side, and registering one assist. Of the 20 games that Martial could have featured in for Sevilla, he was involved in just 12 of those. Injuries once again hampered the forward, and his loan move unfortunately did not work out.

The big question surrounding Martial at the moment is whether he should leave Manchester United ahead of the upcoming season. It may well be the case that United’s number nine sees himself with a new, fresh opportunity under new manager Erik ten Hag.

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He certainly has qualities which would suit the style of play that we have seen from Ten Hag’s Ajax sides in years gone by. For example, Martial moves the ball quickly and efficiently, often finding a pass within one or two touches. He is also an agile dribbler and has shown his ability to effectively beat a defender in a one-on-one situation.

 

Martial could fit into Ten Hag’s system well, especially if he was to play on the left-hand side. However, a big issue is that he would not necessarily be a guaranteed starter at the beginning of next season. United have a plethora of attacking options, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga all vying for a starting spot.

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Alejandro Garnacho is also pushing for a first-team opportunity. Martial would also be competing with Cristiano Ronaldo, and potentially a new signing, for a place leading the line for the Red Devils. 

This is not to say Martial is not good enough to challenge some of these players for one or two positions; he is a player of high ability and has shown just how deadly he can be in years gone by. However, at this stage of his career, Martial may well want to play at a club where he will be a guaranteed starter.

This might mean both United and Martial decide he should move on. There would certainly be several clubs across Europe interested in signing the Frenchman.

Anthony Martial's loan move to Sevilla has not worked out as hoped | Credit: Alamy
Anthony Martial's loan move to Sevilla has not worked out as hoped | Credit: Alamy
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With the transfer window set to open on Friday, June 10th, we may well see a decision on Martial’s future be made in the next few weeks. If he does stay at Old Trafford, it will certainly be interesting to see if he can rediscover his finest form.

If Ten Hag can help to bring out the best in Martial, it would be exciting for United fans to watch him play at the top of his game for the Red Devils once again.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Anthony Martial, Erik Ten Hag, Manchester United, Sevilla, Darwin Núñez

Joe Nuttall
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