Neymar, Thomas Muller and Robben are all world-class, experienced players who have been linked with moves to Manchester United this summer. Whilst these mooted moves all look to have come and gone, United are close to signing a largely unknown teenage talent.
Anthony Martial’s £36 million price-tag means he is set to become the third most expensive player in the Old Trafford club’s history.
Despite such a large fee being laid on for a player who has yet to prove himself fully at the top level, one of United’s ‘Class of ’92’, Phil Neville, says he’s seen enough of the young striker in Monaco’s Champions League play-off round against Valencia (where Neville is assistant manager) to know he is a good signing for Louis van Gaal’s men.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, the ex-Everton man says:
“He was unplayable at times.
“He has strength, pace, everything you could look for. He kept drifting out to the left and causing us [Valencia] problems.
“He’s a proper centre-forward. Every time he got the ball your heart was in your mouth. He was really good in both games, especially at the Mestalla.”
Neville even goes as far as to claim that the 19-year-old is a better ‘bet’ than someone like Edinson Cavani.
“He’s a proper signing and I think he’s a better bet than spending the same on Edinson Cavani or someone similar.”
Although still extremely young and nowhere near as experienced as his strike partner Wayne Rooney, there are shoots of optimism coming from this deal, even if it does appear to be a final desperate push to add depth up front.
Martial scored nine Ligue 1 goals last term for Monaco in a season which he was rarely handed a full 90 minutes. He also has seven Champions League appearances under his belt, which should stand the youngster in good stead ahead of this season’s competition.
Despite the above factors, however, and even with the positive words of a United stalwart to back up this move, there is a lot of concern as to whether or not Martial is good enough to really help United’s goal tally this season.
At 19, he has a lot of time to learn, but with Rooney now as pretty much the only other striker available, he must be prepared to learn quick.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena