Anthony Martial’s well taken goal against Liverpool on his debut last Saturday may technically symbolise nothing more than his first successful finish of the 2015/16 Premier League campaign, yet behind the surface of all the recent drama surrounding his arrival, it ultimately represents a great deal more than that to the English game in general.
The young Frenchman took to his cameo role at Old Trafford last weekend with all the panache and excitement of a confident Premier League striker. Although Martin Skrtel’s ill-fated attempts to stop the 19-year-old were characteristically shaky from a Liverpool perspective, Martial’s seeming ability to set a strong first impression will be keenly felt around the rest of the global footballing community.
So then, in light of the club’s recent decision to sign the former AS Monaco forward for an incredible £36 million fee this summer, just how big a player will young Anthony Martial ultimately prove for Manchester United this season?
Well, if his impressive – yet albeit brief – performance against Liverpool last time out is to prove something to go by for the rest of the 2015/16 campaign, Louis van Gaal potentially has a top talent on his hands. The up and coming French international – who has already been asked to represent his nation on a couple of occasions – seemingly isn’t scared of running at defenders, causing havoc among the opposition’s back-line, or taking on shots most wouldn’t even attempt trying in and around the penalty area.
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All of which will come in very handy for Manchester United over the course of the current season, especially as the club evidently failed to sign a striker in the class of Karim Benzema or Thomas Muller to compliment Anthony Martial this term.
However, the new Red Devils’ no. 9 may even prove enough for Louis van Gaal in the striking department if things go particularly well down at Old Trafford in 2015/16…
If such a romanticized outcome were to take place for United this season, the subsequent ramifications could potentially save the Premier League’s status on the global scene. As it currently stands, truly world class assets only seem to end up in the English game once the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich seemingly no longer have a use for such players after they become unwanted.
The recently floundering fate of English teams in the Champions League has also likely had a significant role to play in defining the current shape of affairs today. Sides such as Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United just can’t draw the same level of worldwide attention as they once did, leaving the financially backed likes of Chelsea and Manchester City to pick up the pieces in their absence. Overall though, the rise of the Premier League’s new big money boys has ultimately left the English game in a rather disjointed state, without much sense of direction in the modern era.
So then, Manchester United’s ambitious gamble on Anthony Martial therefore has to work out in the long run – for if it doesn’t – the Premier League itself will be clearly left with egg on its face. For English teams to prove worthy of regaining their dominance on the European scene, transfers such as this one ultimately have to prove successful for the league in general, and not serve to embarrass the English game later on down the line.
However, even though he certainly impressed against Liverpool last time out, the jury nonetheless remains well and truly undecided when it comes to the fate of Anthony Martial. The young Frenchman could still yet become a true Premier League great one day, or equally be left wondering just what went wrong if further goals fail to materialise for him this term.
In the end, this simply isn’t a shrewd move from the Red Devils – it was a clear gamble above all else. The transfer doesn’t represent good business sense at this point in time and could potentially even go down as one of the worst buys in Premier League history based on the club’s seemingly blind investment alone. Therefore, if Martial doesn’t exude pure confidence for the rest of his time in England, the pressure of such a hefty price-tag will likely get to him in the end.
When it all comes down to it, time will simply tell how well Anthony Martial will prove at Old Trafford throughout the 2015/16 campaign, and whether or not the Premier League will ultimately be boosted in light of his new arrival.
At the moment however, the vast majority of football fans in this country are yet to be entirely convinced…