Anthony Martial’s time at Manchester United is up
After six-and-a-half years at Manchester United, French forward Anthony Martial wants to leave the club after falling down the pecking order under new boss Ralf Rangnick. The 26-year-old arrived in summer 2015 from AS Monaco for around 36 million Euros. A fee rising to 54 million with add-ons. It was the most expensive fee paid for a teenager at the time. There was also a Ballon d’Or clause in the contract showing just how highly rated a talent he was back then. However, after failing to nail down a starting spot in the team, he wants to leave the club in January for game time.
Martial’s return of 79 goals in 268 appearances for the club is not bad considering all the stars that Manchester United kept signing ahead of him. There is also Marcus Rahsford from the club’s academy to compete with. Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, and Jadon Sancho are all currently competing for the two positions that Martial likes to occupy. He is yet to make a single appearance under the new boss. Martial has only made ten appearances in the 2021/2022 campaign, and it is already the end of December. The time has come for him to move forward.
What went wrong for Martial?
There were sparks of brilliance, like that memorable solo debut goal against Liverpool, but there are too many moments of frustration. He finished his first season in England, 2015/2016, as United’s top scorer with 17 goals in all competitions which was a great start. However, Martial can be frustrating and immature in the game. His lack of development and consistency makes him make amateurish decisions on the pitch. He still struggles to make good decisions in certain areas of the pitch because he has not had the consistency to wipe those bad decisions out of his game. Young players need to play, make mistakes, and then iron them out of their game as they develop. Martial has not gotten that consistent time/patience.
This childishness in his game can also be pegged to his lack of a suitable position. While Martial wants to be the main center-forward on the pitch, his skillset suits an inside forward or a second striker. He does not have the strength or the size to hold off defenders as the main striker. Martial does not have the dynamic movement required from the main striker, preferring to park towards the left and neglecting space on the other side of the defense. He is best when picking up the ball close to the goal and slaloming through a few defenders to create danger. This is also why he doesn’t play his best football when he is out wide. He is no touchline-hugging winger.
To be fair to him, he did have his best season playing as a central striker under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, scoring 23 goals in all competitions. However, he’d fit better as a second striker in a 442, 4222, and 352 or as the left-sided inside forward in a 343. These shapes are very uncommon in football as most coaches trust the 433 and 4231 the most.
Where does Martial go next?
The player’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, stated earlier this month that Martial wants to leave the club in January. Rangnick then “spoke at length” with Martial on Wednesday. Martial told him, “it’s the right time for a change,” after starting just two Premier League games this season. The German interim boss stated that there is no concrete offer for Martial. Sevilla are interested in the player, but they have not made any serious contact with the authorities at Old Trafford for Martial.
Julen Lopetegui has Sevilla flying high in La Liga with champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona faltering. They are second to only the impeccable Real Madrid. They may have crashed from the UEFA Champions League back down into the Europa League, but they rule that competition, and they will give a good account of themselves. While they are having a superb campaign, the Andalusians have struggled with injuries. Suso and Erik Lamela have been out with injuries for a considerable amount of time. Munir El-Haddadi and the club’s top scorer last campaign Youssef En-Nesyri will be heading to AFCON in early 2022. They have also suffered injuries. Sevilla need bodies to support the already overused Papu Gomez, Lucas Ocampos, and striker Rafa Mir.
They have set their sights on Martial, but they hope that he accepts a reduction in his salary to engineer the move as they cannot afford it. Martial needs to take this opportunity and make this move. He will get game time and consistently too. Martial has the sort of spark that Sevilla have been missing in recent weeks.
The Red Devils March on
United face Newcastle on Monday having had their last two games canceled due to a Covid outbreak. They are seventh, but that doesn’t reflect their true position in this distorted EPL season. United will be hoping to continue their form under the new boss. The Red Devils have won two games and drawn one under Rangnick.