France manager Didier Deschamps: Manchester United do not want to sell Anthony Martial

by Leo Nieboer

France boss Didier Deschamps has insisted that Manchester United are determined to keep Anthony Martial at the club over the summer.

The Frenchman has produced a series of scintillating displays this season, claiming 11 goals and nine assists, but the arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January has limited him to just two starts under Jose Mourinho.

His period on the sidelines has prompted rumours suggesting Man United were considering letting him leave in order to capture Gareth Bale, who will almost certainly leave Real Madrid in the summer.

But Deschamps, having recalled Martial to the France squad this season, has claimed that United do not want to get rid of him.

“Martial has a contract with United and the club does not want to sell him,” he said. “Then let’s see if he will be looked for, by Juventus or by someone else.”

“I do not give advice, I give my opinion. Then, eventually, it is up to the players to decide.”

I cannot help but worry about the prospect of Martial leaving. I think about it on a daily basis. What concerns me is that, should the opportunity of a swap deal involving Bale arise, Mourinho would jump at it. He was very clear about his admiration for the Welshman – ostensibly closer to what the Portuguese likes in a winger than Martial – ahead of the UEFA Super Cup in August.

The greatest hope we have, I think, is Ed Woodward – a man who has skilfully propagated a refined image of the club in recent years and struck a series of very profitable deals. And losing Martial, put simply, would be terrible optics. The man is a monumental fan favourite, cultivating an actual Twitter faction known as ‘Martial FC’. Only two players receive more internet searches in China: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Strange as is it, stuff like that matters in 2018, and could be cause for Woodward stepping in.

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