Manchester United are set to sign Anthony Martial for a fee of £36m according to the BBC, although reports in France suggest it could be more. The 19 year old will join the club from AS Monaco, who have already sold a number of key players this summer. The experiment at the club hasn’t gone as well as planned, which is why young players like Martial, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco have opted to leave Monaco. Eyebrows have been raised on both sides of the channel about the transfer, especially the inflated fee, but Manchester United need more competition for Wayne Rooney. Also the Frenchman has the potential to grow into a world class player, which highlights the forward thinking approach at the club.
Martial may not be well known in England, but he is beginning to make a name for himself in his homeland. He was called into the France squad for the upcoming friendlies. Although France are only playing friendlies ahead of Euro 2016, it shows that Didier Deschamps views Martial as part of the country’s future.
He is a typical French forward with a similar style of play to Thierry Henry and Loic Remy, both of whom have been successes in the Premier League. The comparisons to the former have been made, but should be avoided to prevent Martial coming to the Premier League with too much pressure on his shoulders. The £36m prices tag bring its own pressure and comparisons to one of the most successful Premier League imports should be avoided.
Martial is a quick powerful forward, who likes to run with the ball and with his low centre of gravity, he eases his way past defenders. He is an impressive finisher when the chances come his way, and he could flourish at Manchester United with Juan Mata and Memphis Depay supplying him. He is also capable of playing key passes in the final third, which once again could bring out the best in Memphis Depay, who has struggled to adapt initially to the Premier League.
Last season, he scored nine goals for Monaco which means that he was the top scoring player under 20 in the top five European leagues. He started his career at Lyon, before a €6m move to Monaco, meaning that the latter will be making upwards of £30m when the striker completes his transfer to Old Trafford. Martial will also bring versatility to the Manchester United squad as he is capable of playing on the left wing. He has been capped at all youth levels for France, and could make his full international debut in the next week.
The forward has been watched by a number of European clubs including Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea. He isn’t well known across Europe yet, but he has a profile amongst scouts and it was only a matter of time before he made a move to a huge club. His potential could lead to him becoming one of the best players in the world, which is why Manchester United are paying so much for the teenager.
He is an interesting signing for Louis van Gaal and could be seen as a panic buy, and once again doubts will be raised about the club’s ability to attract the very best players. Martial could develop into an excellent signing, but he isn’t a player that will push the club on this season into title challengers.