Anthony Martial arrived at Old Trafford in 2015 as a relatively unknown talent. But that was no longer the case just days later when he scored on his debut against Liverpool. Ever since, he’s struggled to live up to expectations.
Never really sure if he was best deployed on the left wing or as a centre-forward, Martial simply didn’t deliver the numbers expected of a Manchester United No. 9. The fact that both Edinson Cavani and Cristiano Ronaldo were brought in tells you all you need to know about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s faith in his finishing.
As a result, he’s fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford to the point where he is sometimes not even an option on the bench. Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick recently confirmed to the press that the Frenchman is eager to seal a move, so Planet Sport takes a look at his most likely suitors in January.
After Martial’s wantaway status was confirmed by the club and manager, the odds of him joining Spanish side Sevilla were immediately slashed.
Consistent game time, Champions League qualification and fantastic weather – Sevilla certainly ticks a lot of Martial’s boxes. And, while their chances of pipping Real Madrid to this season’s title are definitely slim, Julen Lopetegui’s side trail them by eight points in second.
So far, much of their success this season has been due to their superb defence. Their 13 goals conceded ranks first in La Liga. But a striker is much-needed in January, as they’ve only put the ball in the net 29 times this season, the fifth-most in the division.
Martial may not be able to guarantee immediate goals, but he can certainly help the striking situation. He’s now just 8/15 to end up in Seville.
After losing Ronaldo in the summer, Juventus have struggled for goals in his absence, and have endured a poor start to their season as a result.
They’ve climbed their way back into fifth, but are a startling 12 points off Inter Milan at the top of the tree. With just 27 goals scored this season they’ll need to address the striker situation in January, and Martial seems an obvious target.
It’s six months too late to consider it a swap deal by United and Juventus, but it’s essentially the same thing. Ronaldo’s arrival has seen Martial’s game time disappear, so why not head in the other direction.
It’s a deal that seems to benefit both parties, so it’s not too surprising to see the odds valued at 9/1.
Also in the hunt for Martial’s signature is the club who first sold the then-teenager to Manchester United for a whopping £36million back in 2015.
The deal was bunged full of clauses, which Martial never fulfilled – Ballon D’Or winner anyone? So Monaco were short changed, and probably want him back on the cheap.
This really would be seen as a ‘return to sender signing’, probably sucking his thumb as those mean chaps in the north of England hardly gave him a proper kick of the ball.
Bookies have definitely been spooked by the French club sniffing around and are offering 9/1 on a return.
Going from training with Ronaldo to Lionel Messi doesn’t sound too bad, does it. Well, with Kylian Mbappe set to depart the Parisian giants in the summer, a new striker will be on the shopping list, and Martial is available at a cut price.
But even still, if he was struggling to get game time at Old Trafford, it seems inevitable that he’d suffer the same fate back in his native France, with Messi, Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi all battling for the forward positions.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the odds of Martial booking a flight to Paris in January have drifted in recent weeks, going from one of the favourites to now being 25/1 outsiders.
As much as Martial would love to return to France, moving to PSG doesn’t seem to be the smartest choice for his career, and Monaco is looking a far more likely destination.
The Hammers have been superb under Moyes’ leadership, and are currently challenging for a Champions League berth.
Michail Antonio has been central to their success, spearheading the side with six goals this season. But with barely any depth up top, West Ham will be keen to reinforce their striking department over January.
Most clubs will be keen to hold on to their players over the festive period, so Martial’s current situation could make it one of the more simpler transfers to get over the line.
And, having seen the impact West Ham had on reviving Jesse Lingard‘s career, Martial could be tempted to follow suit. With the prospect of playing in the Champions League next season and the Irons currently above United in the table, it might even be viewed as a step up.
Despite being favourites for his signature at the start of December, his odds have drifted to 12/1 for an east London switch.
Newcastle United have been linked with nearly every player in world soccer over the last few months, but a move for Martial is one of the more realistic possibilities and a good price at 15/2.
Eddie Howe has only got Callum Wilson and an out-of-form Joelinton to rely on up front as he tries to guide the Magpies to safety, so a move for a striker is definitely on the cards.
With Allan Saint-Maximin starring for the Magpies, a potential partnership with his compatriot would surely excite the Newcastle faithful.
However, while Newcastle can certainly now match any club financially, the risk for any player joining in January is that they face the prospect of almost immediate relegation.
But having sat on the bench for the last few months, it would be a chance for Martial to put himself in the shop window at the very least. And, who knows, he could even become an instant Geordie hero by leading the Magpies out of the mire.
Another Premier League club in the running for Martial is Arsenal, who may be in the market for a new striker after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the club captaincy.
The Gabonese striker’s public shaming for commitment issues looks to be the beginning of the end for his time at the club.
That opens up a space for Martial, whose style fits the way that Arsenal play under Mikel Arteta. A strike partnership with fellow French forward Alexandre Lacazette, should he stay, would also appeal.
Manchester United may demand a higher fee to sell to a direct rival, but if both Arsenal and Martial push for the move, their hand may be forced.
Priced at a very juicy 20/1 if you see Martial as the Auba replacement.