Per The Times, Jose Mourinho is prepared to part with Anthony Martial this summer should the French forward decide he wants to leave Manchester United.
The 22-year-old has impressed in bursts since arriving at Old Trafford from Monaco in summer 2015, bagging 36 goals and 27 assists in 133 appearances, but he’s struggled to hold down a consistent role in the starting XI and has always seemed a poor fit for the United gaffer’s pragmatic philosophy.
So, is the timing right to move Martial on, or could a summer sale come back to haunt the Red Devils? Football FanCast take a look at three potential consequences – some positive, some negative – of United cashing in during the coming transfer window…
Although Man United will be saying goodbye to one promising youngster, that should ensure more game-time for another who is probably held in even higher regard by the Old Trafford faithful in the form of Marcus Rashford.
Following Alexis Sanchez’s January arrival, the England international now has two players to fight for a starting berth on the left wing, while Martial is arguably ahead of him in the centre-forward queue as well with Romelu Lukaku currently top of the pecking order.
But selling Martial should afford Rashford far more opportunities, as both a left winger and a centre-forward, and that’s probably a worthwhile sacrifice considering the huge potential the 20-year-old has shown during his short Red Devils career.
While it’s no guarantee of him becoming a top-tier talent, it could be what sees Rashford truly flourish and start competing with Lukaku and Sanchez for a regular starting berth.
There will no doubt be interest in Martial should United look to part with him this summer, and there have already been a number of potential suitors mentioned in the media – including Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur who were mooted by The Telegraph earlier this month.
The last time United allowed a promising young Frenchman to leave the club, they ended up buying him back for a world-record fee and while a return to Old Trafford for Martial seems far less likely, he certainly has the talent to make a similar impact as Paul Pogba at another major club.
After all, while he may lack consistency and suitability to Mourinho’s game-plan, the 22-year-old is clearly a huge talent, one that another club might even feel comfortable building their team around.
To some extent, United can control where Martial ends up next – the further away, the less he can directly hurt them – but whether it’s domestically or in Europe, there’s a strong chance one of United’s rivals will end up benefiting from the 18-cap international moving on.
“We are going to invest the basic to improve our squad. We are going again to touch our squad and believe that more than spend, spend, spend, is probably the evolution of our players. We have some young players that need to get, with both hands, opportunities with their evolution, so let’s see.”
Jose Mourinho made some curious comments about summer spending last weekend, suggesting the Red Devils will try to find other ways of competing with Manchester City than simply dedicating a blank cheque to the transfer market.
But selling Martial would free up some funds for United and it’s clear this squad has too much value tied up in the wrong areas. Although United have copious options on the left wing, including Martial, they lack the same depth on the opposite flank, while the whole defence could do with some fresh blood. Mourinho’s spent the season relying on two former wingers at full-back, while no centre-back partnership has consistently convinced.
Using the funds Martial brings in – Transfermarkt value him at £45million – would allow Mourinho to remain committed to United’s mission of not spending their way to glory while making much-needed alterations to his squad.