Martial's extension and Fellaini's departure flies in the face of what Mourinho wanted

Manchester United’s biggest business of the January transfer window was to tie down Anthony Martial to a new, extended contract, as reported by the BBC.
Meanwhile, the most significant outgoing looks to be the departure of Marouane Fellaini, who the BBC report is edging ever closer to a move to Shandong Luneng, for whom the transfer window doesn’t close until the end of February.
Both decisions from Solskjaer point to a more dynamic, attacking approach, and are the opposite of what Jose Mourinho wanted to happen during the summer.

(Photo by Tom Purslow/Man Utd via Getty Images)

In August, the Telegraph reported that Mourinho wanted to sell Martial but Ed Woodward vetoed the idea because of the Frenchman’s potential.
Before that, Mourinho oversaw Fellaini signing a contract extension when his old deal ran out. But by engineering the reverse – even when it is unclear whether he will be in charge at the start of next season – Solskjaer has proved himself more in tune with the demands of the club and supporters than Mourinho ever was.

(OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

That is partially why the decision has been so popular; United are only going to improve by investing time and money in young, quick, exciting players like Martial and letting go of mediocrity like Fellaini.
It appears to be a common-sense approach but it represents a change in the direction Mourinho was taking United in before his sacking – which is long overdue and more than welcome.


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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.