Anthony Martial was not sold in the summer transfer window only because of Ed Woodward’s desire to keep him at the club.
The Executive Vice-Chairman of Manchester United is in charge of transfers at Old Trafford and has reportedly clashed with the thinking of manager Jose Mourinho on a number of occasions.
Daily Record journalist Duncan Castles has revealed that Woodward was behind Martial not leading in the summer. That’s despite a wish from the player and agent to leave Man United and despite an acceptance from Mourinho that a Martial exit was fine.
“He was not sold because Woodward wanted to retain him at the club and feels he is a player who should be developed at Manchester United and not allowed to go elsewhere,” Castles explained to the Transfer Window podcast.
“The player wanted to leave, the agent was trying to get a move and the manager felt the most pragmatic thing to do would be to take the deal on the table – and there were a number of deals on the table.”
It sparks an interesting debate in terms of the structure of management at United. Woodward is not a football person, having been an accountant and investment banker who helped the Glazer family to pile hundreds of millions of debt on United when they took over. However, the decision to keep Martial to try and develop a star rather than buy one for more money seems sensible.
Mourinho, though, is the manager, and is certainly of the breed of managers who need full control to really take clubs to the level they want to be at. So should Woodward be able to impress his own opinions onto the manager and stop him from doing as he wishes? It’s a big debate.