Home ยป What might have been: Anthony Martial’s Man United journey to end soon

What might have been: Anthony Martial’s Man United journey to end soon

Martial looks set to leave Old Trafford after seven seasons

by Ayantan Chowdhury

French striker Anthony Martial’s move and subsequent debut for Manchester United back in the 2015-16 promised so much. But after a lackluster loan spell at Spanish side Sevilla, it seems the Frenchman might be shown the exit door as new manager Erik Ten Hag looks set to add new players to his squad for which he will also need to offload a few.

Back in 2015-16, Louis Van Gaal and Manchester United beat off competition from the likes of Manchester City and PSG to sign the talented attacker. And the former Monaco man made himself an instant hero with a debut goal against Liverpool. However, apart from his debut season and the second half of the 2019-20 season, the 26-year-old has failed to consistently put in top class displays.

After falling down the pecking order during the 2021-22 season, it seemed a move to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium would help him rediscover his form and United were hoping the loan would turn out the same as Jesse Lingard’s temporary spell to West Ham.

However, it ended up being just the opposite. Martial eventually made just nine appearances in La Liga and contributed a solitary goal – a strike against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

He started promisingly enough but fitness issues and form meant his minutes kept dwindling and since April 17, the French international played just 23 minutes and did not even make the squad for the final game.

The Athletic spoke to Seville-based agent Kenneth Asquez, who often deals with the Spanish club, and he summarised Martial’s temporary stint by saying, “Of course, Sevilla are disappointed with how Martial worked out. It was a huge outlay for them and that brought only one goal, but these things happen.

“He kept a low profile, because he tried to concentrate on football, but I heard many times he didn’t have the fire in his belly, that hunger, despite having all the talent in the world.” This is something even manager manager Julen Lopetegui had also touched upon.

From attracting interest from all the top clubs, the former Golden Boy winner is set to return to Manchester with no potential suitors vying for his signature.

Martial has one year left in his contract with the Red Devils having the option of extending it by another year.

Ten Hag has promised to speak to each player and decide for himself but it seems unlikely that Martial will stay with the 20-time English champions.

Selling him will not be easy as the English giants will have to take a big hit and lower their valuation while the player himself will need to lower his wage demands if he is to get a move.

There have even been talks of a swap deal with Benfica with Darwin Nunez coming to Manchester. Considering that famous debut, it will be a sad ending to Martial’s United adventure.

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