Football: Anthony Martial's huge transfer fee denounced

Anthony Martial (right) admits his family are "a bit frightened" over the S$125.5 million fee, but says "that is the market".
Anthony Martial (right) admits his family are "a bit frightened" over the S$125.5 million fee, but says "that is the market". PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Wenger questions wisdom of Man Utd outlay as French teen vows to prove his value to club

LONDON • Anthony Martial's huge transfer price is a big reason why Arsenal could not sign a striker during the summer transfer window.

Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has come out and criticised Manchester United's £58 million (S$125.5 million) outlay on the French teenager, and defended his decision not to add any other new faces apart from goalkeeper Petr Cech, who arrived from Chelsea for £10 million.

The Frenchman was criticised by some Arsenal fans after the Gunners became the only club in Europe's top five divisions not to sign a first-team outfield player during the summer transfer window.

"Martial scored 11 goals in the French championship - that sums it up well," Wenger told beIN Sports on Wednesday. "That means it's not the money that's missing at the moment, it's not the desire of investment that is missing, it's the number of players available who can strengthen the big clubs...

"Martial is a huge talent - he's 19 years old. The investment is absolutely huge as well."

Martial became the most expensive teenage signing in history on deadline day.

The player himself admitted on Wednesday that it was a "quite crazy" fee, and that his family were fearful about the pressure that will come with it.

United have agreed to pay Monaco £22 million up front for the France Under-21 striker, with a guaranteed £14.3 million spread over four years to follow and an additional £22.5 million in performance-related payments.

Speaking at France's national team base at Clairefontaine, having been called into Didier Deschamps' senior squad for the first time, Martial said: "My family are very happy for me. They are a bit frightened because of the amount of money (involved) but I stay in my bubble. I just want to prove my value to Manchester United."

Martial, who has made only 72 senior appearances for Lyon and Monaco in his brief career, is convinced that he can justify his worth.

"I have been told since I was very young that I have the characteristics to play in England," he said. "I am in a hurry to get better and show my worth. I don't know if I am worth £58 million... It is quite crazy for a player of my age, but that is the market."

Just days ago, Wayne Rooney said he did not even know who Martial was. But the teen is unfazed.

He might yet take over Rooney's central striking role - his preferred position - and has been handed the No. 9 shirt. But he also revealed that United manager Louis van Gaal intends to play him in a variety of positions across the forward line.

"It is normal (Rooney) does not know me," he said. "I have not played a lot in Ligue 1 and not at all for the national team."

That could change with Les Bleus' friendly games against Portugal in Lisbon today and Serbia in Bordeaux on Monday.

Martial has already been included in United's 26-man Champions League squad, along with their five other summer signings - Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay.

David de Gea is also in the squad after his move to Real Madrid collapsed on Tuesday. Fellow Spaniard Victor Valdes was not, effectively demoting him to fourth-choice goalkeeper.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2015, with the headline 'MARTIAL FEE DENOUNCED'. Print Edition | Subscribe