Manchester United have set an asking price for two stars whose early years at the club promised so much, but ultimately who never reached the heights their talent foretold.
Anthony Martial, who hit the ground running at Old Trafford, has a chant of “£50 million down the drain, Tony Martial scores again”, a sarcastic reference to the taunts United received for paying over the odds for him from Monaco in 2015.
If the Frenchman is transferred this summer, the buying club’s fans could be chanting “£20 million down the drain,” as this is the figure United now want for him, according to The Sun.
And as The Sun points out, even if a club was willing to take a gamble on that fee, they would be unlikely to cover his £240,000 per week wages (or £250,000 as per Spotrac.com).
Eric Bailly is another star who was a breath of fresh air when he joined the Red Devils from Villareal a year after Martial’s arrival.
Bailly cost United €38 million at the time (£32.6 million at current exchange rates).
His career at Old Trafford has been dogged by injuries and on the few occasions he has had a chance to stake his claim in recent seasons, his often brilliant displays have been interspersed with some hot headed and rash tackling and lapses of concentration.
The Sun claims that Bailly is now available for £8.5 million. Transfermarkt value him at £5 million.
“The club are also actively trying to find a buyer for centre-back Eric Bailly having offered him to Newcastle United – but that was met with a lukewarm response,” The Sun claims.
At 26 and 28, respectively, Martial and Bailly should be in the peak years of their careers.
Both undoubtedly still have the talent, but both are good examples of how talent alone is not always enough to produce a world class footballer.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe are also reported to have been put up for sale and Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Edinson Cavani, Lee Grant and Nemanja Matic are leaving as their contracts expire, leaving the first team squad potentially 12 men lighter than it started last season.