Home ยป Despite disappointments, Manchester United should keep Anthony Martial

Despite disappointments, Manchester United should keep Anthony Martial

by David Abraham

With the 2022/2023 season having come to an end, Erik ten Hag and other Manchester United decision-makers will be looking to improve the squad ahead of next season.

One of the big questions on the table is Anthony Martial’s future. Is his time up at Old Trafford?

This season, Martial has barely been available, missing out on injury on six separate spells. Of the 11 times he’s played, however, he’s scored six and assisted two, which averages out to just over a goal contribution every 122 minutes.

Having moved to United in the 2015/2016 season, and shown much initial promise, things haven’t quite gone to plan for the enigmatic Frenchman.

His initial contribution of 11 goals and 4 assists that season had fans feeling quite optimistic, however, Martial fell off quite significantly, contributing a paltry four goals and six assists the next season.

In the following two seasons, he would achieve the combined goal and assist contributions of 14 and 12 respectively.

The barren spell was broken by an interlude of clinical form in the 2019/2020 season where he scored 17 and assisted six. Again, this promising high was followed by a dreadful slump, with Martial contributing just four goals and three assists in 17 appearances.

This time around, there were clear extenuating factors, as he suffered a string of injuries that season.

With that said, there is a case to be made for keeping Martial at Old Trafford, if only for a ‘last chance’ season.

On the evidence of the 2019/2020 season, a fully fit Martial is a dangerous attacking threat. So the real question is, can Martial be kept fit?

Even in his few spells in and out of the team this season, while the 27-year-old has not been prolific, he has shown that he does suit Ten Hag’s style of play with his excellent link-up play.

So while he may not be the man to lead United to a title charge, he certainly can play a backup role to United’s main man–whoever that will be, without too much of a drop-off in quality.

United are almost certain to bring in a new, big-name striker this season. Names that have been often repeated include Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen, and Randal Kolo Muani.

As all of these will likely be big-money signings–if they come, United would be unlikely to spend on a second striker in the same window. This means the club needs a reliable backup.

This season, the position has been rotated between Marcus Rashford, Wout Weghorst and Martial, when fit.

Rashford clearly thrives playing off the left, and Weghorst simply hasn’t shown himself fit for the task, having failed to score a single Premier League goal, and looking something of a misfit.

If he can stay fit, Martial is the best candidate to play a backup role to whoever United bring in over the summer. All the better if he’s able to rediscover his 2019/2020 form.

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