Anthony Martial might be about to finally get what he wants at Manchester United
It was always going to be a difficult task for Anthony Martial to follow-up ‘that’ debut goal for Manchester United.
Signed from Monaco late in the summer of 2015 the French forward exploded into English football with a sensational strike against Liverpool, a goal so good it eclipsed Christian Benteke’s own wonder effort in the match.
Martial’s goal married all the traits we still known him for to this day. Speed, technique and a clinical finish.
Yet four years on and we have rarely seen such immense promise fulfilled by the forward in a United shirt. Whether it has been mismanagement, injury or poor form, the charismatic forward has found it difficult to always match the standards he set so early on into his Old Trafford carrer.
However, it is testament to the player that four years on his fan base still remains as loyal as ever. There is plenty of reason for it too. Martial is still only 23-years-old and has been done a disservice having been deployed inconsistently under three different managers.
His best football came under Louis van Gaal in a debut season which fully justified the famous No.9 emblazoned onto the back of his shirt.
However, a year late Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived. A superstar of the game and one who took the limelight as well as the sentimental shirt number. It might seem like mere coincidence that Martial’s form dropped as a result. No longer was he the talk of Old Trafford and in the shadow of the Swede his lowered confidence had a detrimental impact on his game.
With just four days of the summer window left, Romelu Lukaku has agreed terms to sign for Juventus, the club’s most natural goal-scorer is ready to leave the club, and it could open up the opportunity for Martial to roll back the clock.
During pre-season he has been a success story under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The manager himself someone who managed to shine in the presence of more starry-named forwards, and a coach who has managed to get Martial purring again during the summer months.
Speaking upon signing his new contract late in January, the United manager praised the talents of Martial and insisted he is it at the ‘perfect’ club to fulfil his potential.
“Anthony is one of those naturally gifted players that any coach would love to work with,” Solskjaer said.
“For a young man, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his exceptional talent, makes for a player with an exciting future ahead of him.
“This is the perfect club for Anthony to progress his development as a top-class forward.
After a successful summer break it is time for Martial to prove he really should be United’s No.9, in more ways than one.