Three reasons Anthony Martial will be a good Man United signing
Ned Bristow examines three reasons why Monaco forward Anthony Martial would be good signing for Manchester United
1) He can score goals
Anthony Martial burst onto the Olympique Lyonnais scene as a 15-year-old, scoring 32 goals in 21 appearances during the course of one season for the under-17 side. He has also scored 25 goals for the French youth teams, but struggled to translate that goal-scoring instinct into senior football until the latter stages of last season. After breaking his professional duck with a last-minute equaliser in October last season, Martial failed to find the net again in Ligue 1 until March. But between then and the beginning of May, the 19-year-old embarked on a blistering run of form, netting eight times in nine games. A form player is just what United’s attack is in need of this season, and although Martial has not found the net in the league this season he did score in the first round of Monaco’s unsuccessful Champions League qualifying campaign. Under the guidance of Wayne Rooney and the coaching staff at Old Trafford, few would doubt Martial’s ability to unlock his full goal-scoring potential over the next few years.
2) He can play up front alone or with a partner
During his run of goals at the back end of last season, Martial featured predominantly as a lone striker in Monaco’s preferred formation. However, later in games, the forward would tend to partner up with Dimitar Berbatov or another striker following their introduction into the action. In both roles – up front alone with wingers and a supporting midfielder, or as part of a striking duo – he excelled and enjoyed a tremendous run of form. This would be an ideal addition to United’s strike force as his presence would allow the struggling Wayne Rooney to be relieved of some of the intense pressure he has been under. It has been clear to see Rooney’s frustration at his isolation up front, and a partnership with Martial would allow the England and United skipper to drop deeper to collect the ball. Additionally, Martial and Rooney’s similarities in terms of looking for the ball to feet would help bolster United’s support play, bringing others into action while not sacrificing anyone from the front line as one of the pair would always remain in an advanced position.
3) He has the trust of all those he’s played for
One thing that is consistent through the 19-year-old’s fledgling career is the trust placed in his by all those he has played under. After being scouted at the age of 14, Martial enjoyed success playing at age groups above his level. For example, at 15, he bagged 21 goals for the Lyon under-17s, and was rewarded for his youth level consistency with a first-team debut aged just 18 years and one day. From there, after just four first-team appearances, he was snapped up by Monaco for around €5m. This initial trust and faith was supported by a run in the first-team, and a total of 60 appearances and since his move to Stade Louis II, with eight goals in the last 12 games of last season. On an international level, coaches and selectors have seen a similar talent in Martial. The youngster has made over 50 appearances for Les Bleus, featuring at every level from under-16s through to under-21s. With 25 goals during this time, the forward recently earned his first call up to Didier Deschamps’ latest France squad aged just 19. While a £35m price tag may be high for a player with relatively limited experience, it is a sign of the times in the modern, extravagant game. Given Martial’s long contract, an immediate goal reward that United so desperately need could make the fee a minor loss compared to the benefits a high league finish would bring to Old Trafford.