Five reasons shock signing Anthony Martial will shine at Man Utd
Following a summer that saw Robin van Persie depart for Turkey, Radamel Falcao begin a new loan spell with Chelsea and Adnan Januzaj being loaned out to Borussia Dortmund, many expected Louis van Gaal to sign a new marquee striker.
Though that hasn’t been the case, with the Dutchman instead splashing a reported £36m on Monaco’s highly-rated Anthony Martial, making the uncapped France call-up the most expensive teenager in history.
Massive expectations have instantly been placed upon the 19-year-old’s young shoulders, after such a mammoth fee being agreed, but the French starlet has the talent to become a star at United, who are 12/1 with Coral to win the Premier League title.
Here are five reasons why Martial will shine in his new surroundings and prove doubters wrong this campaign.
The Red Devils’ new attacking acquisition may arrive as an unknown equity to fans and some of their players but, 11 years after Wayne Rooney became the world’s most expensive teenager, Martial took that tag from his new captain.
At 19 years of age, Martial is gifted with blistering pace and immense dribbling abilities, despite his virtually non-existent reputation in England, and can provide Van Gaal with all his wanted attributes in a forward.
United’s demanding Dutch boss previously stated that he desired a forward with pace in abundance, and he has landed a striker with exactly that. Martial may not be widely recognised among the Old Trafford faithful, but his surprising switch has echoes of Cristiano Ronaldo’s move in 2003, having been fairly unknown to fans before going on to become a club hero.
Never one to shy away from controversial comments, Old Trafford legend and former France international Eric Cantona has weighed in on United’s new signing, making a bold statement on his fellow countryman.
Speaking after Martial sailed through a club medical, Cantona declared: “Martial is France’s biggest talent, in three years he’ll be worth €100m. Hopefully he scores many goals for United.”
Big praise from a man who once lit up Old Trafford with his own unique brand of French flair, something Martial will hope to emulate this season.
Still only 19, Martial was called up to the France international squad by Didier Deschamps for upcoming friendlies against Portugal and Serbia, a huge compliment considering the other three forward options are Karim Benzema, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.
Although, his rise into the senior ranks comes as no real surprise based on the promising attacker’s recent prolific history at other international levels. Martial has long been starring for his country at youth level, netting four times in 12 outings for the Under-21s, as well as nine in 13 for the Under-17 side, showing a true goalscoring instinct.
France fans understandably regard the teenage sensation as the future of the national side, and his cool £36m move to Man Utd could help propel him towards international prominence ahead of Euro 2016 on home soil next summer (4/1 to win).
Being a right-footed, blistering forward capable of terrorising the wings, comparisons with Arsenal and France hero Thierry Henry were inevitable.
Martial is similar to the Gunners’ record all-time goal scorer in stature and style, astutely capable of cutting in on his right foot from a wide left position and causing mayhem among opposite defences. His stunning speed is the key reason Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim switched the youngster to a wide role.
The starlet also played for the same Parisian youth side as Henry, CO Les Ulis, only adding to the comparison with Va Va Voom enthusiast Henry.
Van Gaal’s men secured their return to the Champions League earlier this summer, easily toppling Club Brugge over two legs to earn a place in the group stages, and their new signing holds invaluable experience in Europe.
In Monaco’s last 16 encounter with Arsenal last term, Martial had a key influence on proceedings in an hour-long appearance at the Stade Louis II, and managed to bag his first goal in the competition last month, in a 4-0 triumph over Young Boys in the third qualifying round.
Despite the mammoth price-tag and high expectations surrounding the young Frenchman, Martial possesses all of the qualities capable of seeing him shine on the Old Trafford turf for many season to come.