Sevilla were over the moon to sign Anthony Martial on loan from Manchester United in the transfer window.
The club’s social media account made a huge deal of the move, but so far there has been very little to celebrate about Martial’s contribution.
In eight games for Sevilla, Martial has a pretty unimpressive record of one goal and one assist, and he has also missed a fortnight with injury, which included the local derby with Real Betis.
Martial and Sevilla were eliminated from the Europa League by West Ham on Thursday night. On Sunday he retained his place in the side against Real Sociedad, starting up front.
A game to forget
Sevilla drew 0-0 at home to Real Sociedad, with the entire team failing to register a single shot on target in 90 minutes.
Martial had one shot which failed to test the goalkeeper, and he was substituted on 58 minutes after managing only 21 touches.
The Frenchman’s performance was noted in the Spanish media. AS wrote of Martial’s performance: “Very little for what is expected or expected of him,”, while Marca reported Martial “is having a hard time understanding what Sevilla needs.”
WhoScored.com gave Martial a player rating of just 6.13 and FotMob graded him just 6.0. While there may have been tired legs after the Europa defeat, both performances from Martial, and Sevilla in general, were poor.
Martial did not make it into the recent France squad, and if Didier Deschamps was watching this game, he will be confident he made the correct call.
There would have been big questions of United if Martial had gone to Sevilla and started tearing up La Liga. But that would have been a nice problem to debate.
Instead Martial remains United’s dilemma. The forward was always going to be costly for Sevilla to sign, particularly from a wage perspective – but exceptional performances could have pushed them to strike an exceptional deal.
The fairly below average return from Martial so far will not tempt Sevilla, nor will it cause an array of suitors to queue up at United’s door.
A new coach may try and get something out of Martial in the summer, and he may have to. But last week in an interview with The Guardian, the forward made clear he wanted to get away from Old Trafford.
If Martial really is desperate to leave, then he needs to lift his game over the final few weeks of the season. It’s not too late. Right now though, Sevilla supporters are viewing the same Anthony Martial United fans have seen over the past 18 months, and there is little to shout about.