Two rivals emerge for costly Man Utd misfit as transfer conditions clarified

Samuel Bannister
Anthony Martial and Eric Bailly Man Utd

Two clubs would be willing to take unsettled Manchester United attacker Anthony Martial back to Ligue 1, according to reports from his native France.

Martial’s agent confirmed a couple of days ago that the forward wants to leave Man Utd. He has only started two Premier League games so far this season. His representative will therefore hold talks with the club soon about his future.

Martial has been a Man Utd player since 2015, when they invested heavily to take him from Monaco. It was a record fee for a teenager.

Since then, there have been times when the Frenchman has justified it and others when he hasn’t. He scored 17 goals in his debut season with the club, before three quieter campaigns. Things got better with a career-best tally of 23 in 2019-20, but he has not kicked on since.

Just seven goals came for Martial last season and he has a single one to his name for the current campaign. At 26 years old, he should be playing more and having a greater impact.

To do so, he has now come to the realisation that he should look for other options away from Manchester. One suggestion to emerge in the aftermath of his agent’s comments has been Arsenal.

It has been claimed that Arsenal are the most likely suitors for Martial at this stage. The Mirror said they were ahead of Newcastle, Barcelona and PSG for his signature. But updates in France have revealed the race is widening rather than narrowing.

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According to RMC Sport, 30-cap France international Martial has two options to return to his homeland. PSG’s interest is verified on the basis that the United striker could replace contract rebel Kylian Mbappe.

However, Martial was in contention for a transfer to Paris in the summer but the move has been put on the backburner for now.

In addition, the idea of a move to Lyon is speculated. Martial actually came through their youth ranks and made four senior appearances for them before his move to Monaco in 2013.

The fact Lyon are currently in the bottom half of Ligue 1 after 16 games could be an issue, though.

Anthony Martial waving before Man Utd friendly in August 2021

Either way, RMC believe Martial’s transfer in January will have to be a loan. His high wages and the fact that United have him under contract until at least 2024 would be obstacles to any permanent move.

They also suggest that the situation at Old Trafford could change by the summer, when a new manager may be in place following Ralf Rangnick’s spell in interim charge.

But in the meantime, Martial needs a change of scenery and he could find what he needs back in France.

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Time right for Anthony Martial transfer

One man who agrees it is the right time for Martial to seek pastures new is former Man Utd defender Gary Neville.

The pundit believes United would have been willing to listen to offers for the forward anyway.

When asked if he would sell Anthony Martial, Neville said: “I think if they can get good money for him… I probably would have said if they could have got good money for him in the summer, with the players that they’ve got, then yes I would.

“Now the time has come. I think Manchester United have always been weary of getting burnt.

“Of him leaving for £25m and then going on to become a £100m player because he is a special talent.

“I just don’t think he’ll ever work at Old Trafford to the extent they’ve got Rashford, Greenwood, Ronaldo, Cavani, other players as well.

“I just think now is the time for him to leave and go and play regular football.”

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