A lot of expected from the French prodigy when Louis van Gaal brought him to Old Trafford in 2015, but he has struggled to achieve the potential expected off him.
Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain broke the transfer market. Kylian Mbappe would soon become the most expensive youngster, with compatriot Ousmane Dembele following suit on the record books.
But in 2015 the transfer window was prudent by today’s standards. And Manchester United’s 60 million Euros transfer of Anthony Martial caught everyone’s attention.
Eden Hazard had joined from Lille some years back and entertained all and sundry in English Premier League. Had Manchester United managed a coup of their own and secured an other gem in the rough.
Martial’s first performance for Manchester United would put the media into frenzy. They hailed him as the second coming of Christ, the messiah who would turn the fortunes of the Red Devils. A debut goal from the bench against Liverpool does that.
Injuries and managerial changes
However, if you have missed the years between his debut for United and until today, you have not missed much.
Van Gaal left and in came Mourinho. The Special One would stay for two and a half seasons, and then make way for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Martial has struggled with injuries, form and dry tactics of his managers. Nevertheless, he has failed to fully alight Old Trafford with his performances.
And when he has not been injured, he has been decent but not brilliant. Everyone was justifiably concerned when Solskjaer decided to offload Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. The Norwegian would pin his hopes on Martial to lead the lines.
It was a gamble from the start. Not since the 2015/16 season has the French forward started more than 20 games in English Premier League. Interestingly he has only started 18 matches each in the last three England’s top flight domestic campaigns.
The trend seems to be continuing in the current campaign. He has missed six games for the Red Devils, leaving Marcus Rashford and Daniel James to fight on the front.
Martial understands this and admitted he still has a way to go before establishing himself not only at Old Trafford but the world stage.
“When I arrived at the club, I was just a young player,” the French forward said while talking to the United Review.
“I still hadn’t had the benefit of a proper full season as a professional first-team player in my legs. But now it’s my fifth season here, so now I have to prove and to show that I have evolved as a player and blossomed into one of the best strikers in the Premier League.
Moreover, his statistics do not show for a good reading. He has a similar record to that of Wilfried Zaha, and the Ivorian plays for Crystal Palace.
However, with Anthony Martial turning 24 in the first week of December, there is a lot to come. He just needs to keep away from the treatment table.