Quotes emerged last night from the agent of frustrated United winger Anthony Martial, whose future has and will be subject of widespread speculation this summer.
The Frenchman has been marginalised as a result of United acquiring Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January. It appears being usurped by the Chilean has not sat well with Martial, who was in a rich vein of form on his arrival.
His agent Philippe Lamboley has been speaking to RMC Sport, a media outlet in Martial’s homeland and outlined Martial’s intentions:
“After thinking about all the possibilities and scenarios, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United. United want to extend Anthony’s contract and do not want him to leave but we have not been able to find an agreement for several months.”
With my mind filled with more than a hint of cynicism, I interpret that information as a greedy agent trying to maximise his client’s earnings: “Pay up or shut up” for want of a better expression. Basically, if United are serious about keeping Martial, they should pay and utilise him accordingly.
A trusted source for Stretty News, with his finger generally on the pulse, Andy Mitten has echoed those beliefs that United indeed would be reticent to lose a player of Martial’s talents. Truth be told though, those talents have not been evidenced and developed to the levels we’d all hoped when he burst onto the scene.
Frankly, since January, he has had the hump and barely shown an ounce of fight or hunger to regain his place in the team. His supporters will point to the fact he was dropped after three goals in as many games and making that left-wing spot seemingly his own. People were even talking about Sanchez having to be shoehorned to the number 10 position or right wing as Martial was in the middle of a golden spell.
It’s fair to say he has not exactly taken to the Chilean’s arrival. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, rewind to January and what were you thinking as news filtered through that United had got one over Manchester City by signing Sanchez? I imagine you were euphoric and excited. Simply put, United were duty bound to sign Sanchez, they could not afford to see City strengthen their ranks even further.
Take the dismal defeat at Brighton for example. A quick scene-setting will remind you that Romelu Lukaku was injured and places in the FA Cup final were up for grabs. Martial looked like he’d rather be catching some late evening rays on Brighton beach than stamp his authority in a red shirt at the Amex.
Martial can be devastating, no doubt about that, but that’s the problem ‘can be’. He is not CONSISTENTLY realising the potential he indisputably. Many will point the finger of blame at Mourinho, as it’s the easy thing to do to bash a style not naturally conducive to so-called ‘exciting football’. I have already read comments such as ‘talent destroyer’ and the ‘out’ brigade are finding their voices, once again. Equally, the onus rests with each of the eleven players who cross that white line to take responsibility for their own performances and playing styles.
Mourinho turns to Marcus Rashford without hesitation and that’s because, even when the chips are down, he will not throw in the towel — he will work harder and that is why he is the most frequently used outfield player in Mourinho’s tenure and leaps ahead of Martial — even though he is the younger of the two.
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that Martial MAY turn out to be a world beater and it MIGHT be fraught with danger and major regret if United sell him. However, that is the major basis of people’s arguments and it is flawed because it is a hypothetical case of guesswork.
Martial will only be sold if a replacement can be found, and names such as Willian and Bale have already been earmarked. I cannot imagine many would be grumbling if a winger of their calibre was secured.
Before people jump to conclusions that I am vehemently against Martial, I would welcome him staying at the club, as long as we see a sustained level of performance that shoots him up to that next level of player- the likes of Hazard, Salah, even Sterling last season.
That would mean Anthony Martial would be continually devastating and finally realising that vast potential.
Equally, I would not be the least bit surprised if this was the end of him at United. Before I get my head kicked in and you refer me to that potential, which may or may not be realised, ask yourself whether Martial has kicked on in a red shirt as you’d hoped and whether you think he has the attitude and desire to want to make a success of things.
I genuinely believe there is no outward desire for Martial to leave United, however, I cannot help but think his race has ran its course.