Anthony Martial has had some great news recently. His partner recently gave birth to their child, and so times should be happy in the Martial household right now. Unfortunately, however, the player is said to be unsettled at Man Utd, sparking rumours that his days at Old Trafford could be numbered. He flew home from the club’s pre-season tour of the United States for the birth of his son and did not return – an act which seems to have irked manager Jose Mourinho. Speaking of the French international’s absence, Mourinho said: “He has the baby and after the baby is born – beautiful baby, full of health, thank god. He should be here, and he is not here.” This may seem a little harsh considering that Martial, like many new fathers, will likely want to stay put and spend time with his newborn.For Mourinho, though, it has to be said that the pressure is mounting at the Red Devils. Following a frustrating summer of transfer business which has seen just two players likely to vye for first team opportunities arrive, the Portuguese will be understandably frustrated. Finishing second last season was still seen as not good enough by some segments of the United faithful, and there was hope that a few great signings could put the club back in serious title contention for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s title-winning retirement back in 2013. With Fred and Diogo Dalot the only two likely to have considerable game time coming up, the former Chelsea boss will surely be after more talent arriving through the door at the club.
On top of that, Paul Pogba has been rumoured to want away for a second time after failing to truly find his form since returning to the club from Juventus two years ago, and a return to the Old Lady has been mooted more than once this summer. Having won the World Cup with France Pogba’s stock is on the rise again, and whether he chooses to stay and fight for his future on move on, Mourinho has to do his best to get the most out of Pogba at least while he still can. While Pogba should have no shortage of suitors should he choose to call time on his Manchester tenure, Martial would represent a completely different situation. He has struggled at times and excelled at others, indicating to interested clubs that he may represent a gamble at best.
This isn’t all down to Martial of course. He has often done the job to a very high standard indeed when given an extended run of first team appearances, and he also doesn’t seem to be the only player whose happiness has waned at the club in recent times. Few could truly blame him for wanting to spend an extra few days with his new-look family, but if he is expected to be training with the first team and is failing to attend without their permission then of course it won’t go down well, common sense or not. Apparently, United offered his services for around £80m to French champions PSG, and while Thomas Tuchel’s club do hold some interest in bringing him home to the French top flight the money being bandied about is said to have put them off – the large transfer fee and wage demands combined.
This would seem to be something of a sliding doors time for Martial at Man Utd – he could stay and wind up winning the title with some fine individual performances and finally become that player ingrained into the club’s DNA which seems to have been a possibility ever since he arrived. Alternatively, he may move on, win titles elsewhere and watch as his former club continue to struggle to catch Man City. Maybe they can win the title without him as well. The reality could be anything in between these scenarios, but if the player is unhappy and can’t see a fix, then the club needs to sell. Whatever happens, it is fair to say congratulations to Martial and his family on their new arrival – this is the happiest time in the world, bar none.
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