Manchester United striker Anthony Martial looked like the next big thing when he arrived at Old Trafford.
Not since Micah Richards in the mid-Noughties had anyone burst onto the scene in Manchester quite like Martial did.
But since he delighted Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler with that goal against Liverpool 21 minutes into his Premier League debut, it has been a steady downhill decline for the French forward in England.
Martial’s contract with United is due to expire in June 2023, but the club seem keen to sell him before then.
According to The Athletic‘s Laurie Whitwell, Martial has been “on the market since the summer” when former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer put him on the transfer list.
But selling the former wonderkid, now aged 26, is easier said than done. There appears to be no shortage of interest in Martial, with Sky Sports reporting that Sevilla, Barcelona and Juventus are all keen.
But Whitwell claims that Martial’s weekly pay of £240,000 – £12.48m a year – make any sale “highly complicated” because “few clubs can match those wages”.
Had Martial’s form over the past year and a half been reminiscent of a £240,000-a-week player then selling him may not look like such a tough ask. But eight goals in 18 months does not a world-class striker make.
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United’s motivation for wanting to offload Martial may not be limited to his poor form and high wages.
In a recent Man Utd Q&A session, former Daily Mail journalist Whitwell explained how Martial annoyed Solskjaer and his staff during the summer, when he reported late for pre-season after failing to communicate with the club in a satisfactory manner during his absence.
Whitwell wrote: “Martial tends to enjoy his own space when away from Carrington but a lack of dialogue across several weeks on this occasion was said to cause frustrations among staff. Martial sustained the injury in…