James Cooper: Manchester United were interested in Anthony Martial for months

by Sam Peoples

Sky Sports News reporter James Cooper has insisted that Manchester United were interested in Anthony Martial for months before they made their move.

Martial became the most expensive teenager in world football when he joined Man United for £36m on deadline day.

It is a lot of money to pay for a 19-year-old and some supporters labelled the acquisition as a panic buy as a result.

However, Cooper insisted United did their homework with Martial and that they believe in his quality.

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“If it is a panic signing, it is a panic that has gone back weeks and months. They have been monitoring this young man very, very closely for a long time. A lot of big European clubs have been in for him. The feeling among those clubs is that Monaco would make it into the Champions League this season and therefore they would have to wait another year,” he wrote.

“Manchester United realised as soon as Monaco tumbled out of the qualifying stages of the Champions League that was their opportunity. They have moved in very swiftly and paid big money – £36m, which is a record for a teenager in world football.

“But there are two signs of both his belief and the club’s belief. The first is that he chose the No 9 shirt himself. He was given a number of options. That No 9 was vacated by Radamel Falcao who left having arrived this time last year.

“Also when you look at the add-ons, one of the add-ons involves him winning the Ballon d’Or. That might be several years down the line but Manchester United are showing their intent with a player they believe can really change things at the club.”

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Martial is largely an unknown quantity outside of France and it will be unfair to pass judgement on him until at least a couple months into his United career.

It will be hard to expect the player to make a substantial impact in his debut season at Old Trafford given his age. He may need a season like Luke Shaw’s last year, where he bedded himself in at United before kicking on in his second campaign.

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