Martial high fee 'ridiculous' but van Gaal justifies buy

Anthony Martial is Manchester United's most-expensive signing of the summer after they snapped up seven new players.
Anthony Martial is Manchester United's most-expensive signing of the summer after they snapped up seven new players.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Louis van Gaal has called the projected £58.8 million (S$128.1 million) committed by Manchester United to the signing of Anthony Martial "ridiculous", with the valuation evidence of the "crazy world we are in".

The United manager also said the 19-year-old had been brought in as a long-term prospect chiefly for the benefit of his eventual successor at Old Trafford, whom he tipped to be Ryan Giggs.

Van Gaal said the fee - £36 million up front to Monaco, with the rest linked to performances - reflected a trend of United routinely being quoted "£10 million more" for players than other clubs.

Speaking alongside Giggs at an event for executive United season ticket-holders, van Gaal said: "I have not bought Martial for me, I have bought him for the next manager of Manchester United."

With a nod to Giggs, he said: "I feel I am introducing the next manager of Manchester United."

Van Gaal was also asked about criticism of United's style and inconsistency from former players, including Gary Neville and Paul Scholes. He responded: "It makes me sick because they should know that it takes time."

He added that he remains confident United can take the title away from Chelsea "if everything goes for us". But he would also be satisfied with a top-three finish.

Van Gaal also defended his decision to loan Adnan Januzaj to Borussia Dortmund and allow striker James Wilson to join a Championship club.

It is understood that Wilson will go to Derby County on loan. That will leave United with just two senior strikers in Wayne Rooney and Martial following the sale of Mexico international Javier Hernandez.

Moreover, Martial, the most expensive teenager in history, is expected to take on a wider position rather than a central role.

But van Gaal said the Wilson deal includes an emergency recall clause.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2015, with the headline 'Martial high fee 'ridiculous' but van Gaal justifies buy'. Print Edition | Subscribe