Wantaway winger Anthony Martial might just have to spend another season at Manchester United, after Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho crushed speculation linking the ‘unhappy’ Frenchman with a move away from Old Trafford.
Martial has found playing time hard since Mourinho took charge in 2016 and is said to be pushing for a move. The 22-year-old, once the toast of French football, is unlikely to regain his starting place once all of United’s players who participated at the 2018 FIFA World Cup return from their holidays.
Currently, Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and even Marcus Rashford are ahead of him in the pecking order.
However, with a majority of the aforementioned players unlikely to featuring in United’s season opener against Leicester City on August 10 due to their belated arrivals, Martial is almost certain to start against the Foxes.
The pacey Frenchman’s been leading the line for United in their pre-season tour of the United States so far, starting as the centre forward for both their draws against CF American and San Jose Earthquakes.
Martial’s agent, however, sent the rumour mills into overdrive last week when he claimed that his player was unhappy at Old Trafford and would be looking to move on in the summer.
Philippe Lamboley also claimed that United have dragged their feet on a contract extension for his client, which made the winger feel unwanted.
And Mourinho told the Manchester Evening News, after United’s 0-0 draw with San Jose Earthquakes, that Martial was unlikely to move away.
“I don’t know what his agent told,” the Portuguese said initially.
After being filled on in Lamboley’s comments, the droll Mourinho responded, “I would like to be in Los Angeles now and I am in San Jose. You cannot do whatever you want in life, I would love to arrive in Los Angeles, to train in Los Angeles and play all my five matches in Los Angeles, and then don’t travel, don’t change hotel and then go back to Manchester.”
Mourinho then drew a parallel with his complaints over the Premier League’s rescheduling of their opening-day fixture against the Foxes as he stated, ”I would like to play against Leicester on Sunday but I have to play on Friday, so you don’t get always in life what you want.”
While Martial is in the final two years of his contract, United have the option to trigger a one-year extension clause that will see him tied down till 2020. The extension may price most prospective suitors out of a move as it will definitely add £15-20 million to his already hefty price tag.
The Red Devils paid Monaco £58 million for his services in 2015 and are unlikely to settle for anything less than that sum.
Premier League rivals Chelsea are said to be interested in signing the 22-year-old, in the event Willian departs for Barcelona.
So far, United have made just two outfield signings this summer. Diogo Dalot, a virtually untested quantity, arrived to bolster the fullback options while Brazilian midfielder Fred has been signed to free up Paul Pogba.
Fans are concerned over the club’s lack of transfer activity, however, with rivals Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City doing solid business already.
Should Mourinho be able to get an offensive player before the August 9 deadline, Martial could be allowed to leave.