Wantaway martial to be denied move

The playing time of Anthony Martial, seen here against Arsenal, had been further reduced following the January signing of Alexis Sanchez.
The playing time of Anthony Martial, seen here against Arsenal, had been further reduced following the January signing of Alexis Sanchez.PHOTO: REUTERS

Frenchman seeks to revive career elsewhere but United aim to fetch higher fee a year later

LONDON • Anthony Martial is heading for a stand-off with Manchester United, as the striker is determined to leave the club and manager Jose Mourinho is determined not to sell the Frenchman.

Martial believes his career has stalled at United and the 22-year-old's contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season.

But United are expected to trigger a clause that allows for his terms to be extended for a year and so tie Martial down until summer 2020. By doing so, the club could fetch a far higher fee for the player.

During the first half of last season in the English Premier League, Mourinho divided duties on the left side of his attack between Martial and Marcus Rashford.

Martial's playing time was further reduced following the January signing of Alexis Sanchez. His agent, Philippe Lamboley, has been seeking an exit route for the forward for some time.

"After thinking about all the factors and possibilities, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United," Lamboley said.

  • £89m

    Manchester United's valuation of French forward Anthony Martial, which has put off Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

"It's a well thought-out decision. Everyone will have their opinion but I think he needs to resume his career. The time has come."

Mourinho has stated that Martial will be in his starting line-up for United's first game of the new campaign - the visit of Leicester to Old Trafford on Aug 10 - because the manager's preferred centre-forwards, Romelu Lukaku and Rashford, will not be match-fit after having an extended holiday following the World Cup.

Were they available, Martial would almost certainly not be chosen to be the No. 9, and Sanchez might still be selected ahead of him.

Jesse Lingard is also on a post-Russia 2018 break and is another player higher in the pecking order than Martial.

Despite the uncertainty over his future, team-mate Ander Herrera believes Martial can still re-establish himself for United.

"He's very talented," the Spanish midfielder said.

"He can be one of the best players in the world and I think he is very focused this season to smash it. When you have players like Anthony, like Rashford, Jesse, Juan (Mata), Alexis, those kind of players that can change the game."

The Times of London has reported that Chelsea are working on a deal to bring Martial from United as a replacement for Eden Hazard, who has asked to leave Stamford Bridge this close season for Real Madrid.

It is also said that German Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are interested in him.

However, neither Chelsea nor Bayern are willing to meet United's £89 million (S$159.25 million) valuation of the France international.

While United hold a unilateral option to extend Martial's contract for an additional season, The Times reported that Mourinho is also open to selling Martial and recruiting a specialist winger.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2018, with the headline 'Wantaway martial to be denied move'. Print Edition | Subscribe