Football: Martial may return to fine of two weeks' wages

Striker Anthony Martial's relationship with his club, Manchester United, is at an all-time low and is planning to leave because of his meagre game time.
Striker Anthony Martial's relationship with his club, Manchester United, is at an all-time low and is planning to leave because of his meagre game time. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Manchester United are ready to punish Anthony Martial for failing to return to the United States for the final week of their pre-season tour after he went home to France for the birth of his second child.

Martial's relationship with manager Jose Mourinho and the club is at an all-time low and he wants to leave because of his lack of game time. Last term, he started only 18 league matches and missed out on a place in France's victorious World Cup squad.

He said on Wednesday that he was ready to return to Manchester after the birth of his son, Swan, last week. He tweeted: "My little Swan is fine, for the mum it was harder but thanks to God she's better now.

"Sorry but my family will always come first...

"Back tomorrow in Manchester."

That is unlikely to save the striker from disciplinary action, however, with United considering fining him £180,000 (S$321,700), or two weeks of his wages.

The squad flew home from Miami on Wednesday morning and will resume training for their final pre-season friendly at Bayern Munich on Sunday.

Mourinho was unhappy that Martial gave him only two days' notice before flying home. The 22-year-old then ignored his pleas to boost United's patched-up squad.

It is understood that there are worries about his fitness, with club insiders saying that he has not trained properly for eight days.

He will have to complete a medical test if he leaves United and would need to be in good physical condition to do so.

Martial is desperate to leave having fallen behind Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford in the pecking order. He also does not feel Mourinho is the right man to help him develop.

Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, is reluctant to sell him because he believes that the Frenchman can become one of the best players in Europe.

Martial has only one year left on his contract, although United have the option to extend that deal. Chelsea, Bayern and Tottenham have been linked with him.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 03, 2018, with the headline 'Martial may return to fine of two weeks' wages'. Print Edition | Subscribe