Anthony Martial faces uphill task to break into United starting line-up amid exit reports

Following his best season in 2019/20, it was hoped that Anthony Martial would kick on and make the Manchester United number nine position his own, but now it’s hard to see how the Frenchman gets back into the team, let alone being the main man.

Since Cristiano Ronaldo has returned to the club, Martial has had seven minutes of game time across three games.

Martial’s only start this season came in the 1-1 draw against Southampton where he was brought off after an hour for Jadon Sancho.

Across the four Premier League matches Martial has featured in this season which equates to 98 minutes, he has had just one shot on goal (WhoScored).

When you compare that to Ronaldo, who has had more shots per game (average 6.5) and more shots on target per game (average 3.5) than any other player in the division, it shows the stark contrast between the pair.

What now for Anthony Martial?

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Two seasons ago, Martial finished the Premier League campaign with 17 goals, his best output since joining the club from Monaco. He finished that season with 23 goals across all competitions.

Last year, the 25-year-old managed just four goals from 22 Premier League appearances. Ronaldo will probably equal Martial’s tally last season in his third Premier League game of the season.

Despite being in and out of the side and suffering injuries, Martial is still averaging nearly a goal contribution every other game at United. He has 78 goals and 50 assists from 263 games (Transfermarkt).

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

But he arguably faces the biggest challenge of his career breaking into this United side.

In the forward positions he can play, Martial is currently competing against Paul Pogba, Sancho, Jesse Lingard, Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo for a starting spot.

That’s before Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani return from injury and with youngsters Hannibal Mejbri, Anthony Elanga, Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo knocking on the first team door, it’s a tall order for Martial to resurrect his United career.

Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

January exit touted

A report from Eurosport today claims Martial’s representatives have been given the green light to look for a move. Alleged interest from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid is cited, while Martial is said to be open to staying in the Premier League.

United would want £40 million for his signature, the report claims, and the club would consider letting him leave in January if a suitable bid came in.

The return of Ronaldo has significantly reduced the chances of United’s number 9 starting any Champions League or Premier League matches.

He will probably get a chance to impress against West Ham in the Carabao Cup, but Martial has to fight for his United future.

At his clinical and direct best, Martial could link up to devastating effect with Ronaldo from United’s left, but it all boils down to how much he wants it, will he show that desire to impress Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in training.

Time will tell, but as it stands it looks Anthony Martial is on the periphery of this talented United squad.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.