Anthony Martial’s agent has expressed the forward’s desire to leave Manchester United. His representative was quoted by Sky Sports: “He just needs to play. He doesn’t want to stay in January and I will speak to the club soon.”
It feels like the timing is right for Martial to move on. Here is a look at five reasons the Red Devils should grant Martial his wish and let him leave in January…
Martial wants to go
As his representative Philippe Lamboley says, Martial wants to leave. There is no point Manchester United keeping a player who does not want to stay.
Martial would become a distraction for United by keeping him. Martial clearly has an eye on World Cup 2022, having lost his place in France’s World Cup squad in November due to his lack of action. His previous bad luck missing tournaments for various reasons increases his desire to make it to Qatar.
Letting Martial leave is the fair decision, and manager Ralf Rangnick has already told the club website he will not try to convince players to stay, who already don’t want to be here.
Alternate options mean Martial won’t be missed
The sad truth for Anthony Martial is that he simply won’t be missed. He has started only two Premier League games this season, and the news he wanted out was met with a collective shrug by supporters.
He has scored once in all competitions and his last start against Villarreal he barely made an impact.
Martial is United’s fifth choice striker behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.
There is also a case to be made that Anthony Elanga’s potential makes him a more exciting pick than a stagnating Martial. The young Swede can step into Martial’s place and United will carry on seamlessly.
He doesn’t fit Rangnick’s style
Let’s face it, Martial is not exactly a good fit for Ralf Rangnick’s intense pressing game. The Frenchman has been routinely criticised by fans and pundit for his work rate during his time at the club.
It is somewhat ironic that Martial broke down with an injury after just one training sessions under the interim boss.
Martial needs to find a new club where he can play regularly, and with a style of play which suits him. He’s a talented player, but one with little to offer United right now.
Martial’s progress has stalled
At 26, Anthony Martial should be approaching his peak years. There have been some great moments for him at United, but his spell at the club will be remembered as one of unfulfilled potential.
There’s the question of ‘what exactly is Martial?’
Is he a striker, or is he a left winger? His best season at United came in 2019/20 in which he struck 23 goals – yet his performances since suggest he is not good enough to score the goals the club need up front.
Martial has scored only eight goals for United in one-and-a-half seasons since.
He began the 2020/21 season as United’s first choice centre-forward, and is now the fifth option. This in itself shows he has hit a wall and is on a downward trajectory.
Martial’s prospects at United are not going to improve
There is little light at the end of the tunnel at United. Even with a goal here or there, he is not going to win his place back as a regular starter.
While Edinson Cavani will leave at the end of the season, and who knows what Ronaldo will do if United fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, Martial is an unsatisfactory solution.
United have seen Martial, and know he’s not the answer. When Cavani leaves, United will look to sign a far younger replacement – or two, in case of an early Ronaldo exit.
Martial should not hang around ‘just in case’. His only hope for a United future is a loan deal, in which he performs incredibly, and even then, he would probably face a Jesse Lingard scenario upon returning to his previous back-up role.
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