Why Manchester United must avoid falling into the Anthony Martial transfer entanglement
Anthony Martial has only made 13 appearances for Manchester United this season, but he has contributed seven goals.
Manchester United continue to be associated with several strikers ahead of the summer transfer window, it is vital to remember that, despite struggling with injuries this season, Anthony Martial is still the forward whom Erik ten Hag is backing.
This season, the Frenchman has had a rough year, making only 13 appearances in all competitions. The 27-year-old has made nine Premier League starts for United, with only six of them coming in the league. He has been unlucky due to his injury difficulties and the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Ten Hag stated in November that Martial was his first-choice striker. As it stands, Marcus Rashford – who has been playing on the left wing – has scored the majority of United’s goals this season, but even in his few appearances, Martial has proven why United manager Jose Mourinho believes he can play a significant role for the Reds.
While Wout Weghorst has joined on loan until the end of the season, he is only a short-term solution for the time being. If he leaves after the season, United will need to strengthen. Even if the Dutch striker performs well enough to secure a permanent transfer to Old Trafford, Ten Hag is anticipated to make a move for a forward.
Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur and Victor Osimhen of Napoli appear to be the two key targets. It would undoubtedly take a lot for Spurs to move their talisman to United, but interest has previously been expressed, and he would arrive with guarantees. Meanwhile, Osimhen is a pure ‘No.9,’ and with the unlikely departure of Kane, he would be many people’s first pick.
United were interested in signing Kane in 2021, and speculation about a new approach for the England captain has risen in recent weeks. Following such allegations, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright advised that Ten Hag search for a deal to transfer Martial to Old Trafford.
Given how favourably the Reds boss has spoken about Martial, it appears that he will not be sold during the summer transfer window. With that in mind, the Frenchman’s inclusion in a player-plus-cash deal – particularly for Kane – becomes even more improbable. It is relatively unusual these days, and more importantly, United still believes in their forward.
Some supporters have said that forcing Martial on at the end of the campaign would be advantageous to both parties. He has previously missed 11 Premier League games due to injury and is currently out with another. However, with seven goal contributions in 13 games, he has proven that he can deliver on the field.
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United must strengthen in the forward area over the summer, and Ten Hag has already demonstrated that he can generate results with a half-fit Martial and players playing many roles. It’s impossible to tell how this season would have gone if the team had a proven striker, but it makes the idea of getting one much more thrilling.
In 282 games for United, Martial has 84 goals and 52 assists. A goal or assist roughly every two games for a player who has started 206 games is not a bad return.
It has been said on numerous occasions already this season, but the Frenchman must get himself fit and enjoying a sustained period out on the pitch. For both the player and the club, it has been too stop-start this campaign – but no one knows and understands that more than the striker himself.
The likelihood of Martial being sold to bring in a new striker is remote, but it cannot be entirely out. It is unlikely to happen unless Ten Hag is removed from the decision-making process. However, regardless matter who comes through the door in the summer, the Dutchman requires more from the Frenchman.