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Who is Anthony Martial and is he worth the cash?

Louis van Gaal has been sacked by Man United after winning the FA Cup. (AP Photo/Jon Super).
Roar Rookie
1st September, 2015
23

When I heard that Manchester United had made a £36 million bid for an obscure 19-year-old Frenchman at Monaco named Anthony Martial, I was initially confused because I had never heard of him before.

Upon reading a bit, the codexes said he was a wide player who is quite capable of playing as a striker – sounds a bit like Thierry Henry I thought.

He played 35 times for Monaco in Ligue 1 scoring nine times and has played from France Under-16s right through to the Under-21s with more than 12 caps for the latter.

On the same day that United let Adnan Januzaj and Javier Hernandez leave the club, I was wondering why they were bringing in a 19-year-old who has had one good season in top flight football as a replacement.

It seems like a more than dubious plan. With an inconsistent Wayne Rooney currently the club’s only real striking option, bringing in an unproven teenager is dangerous. However, that’s not to say he won’t succeed – at least in the long term.

But if a club like Manchester United is prepared to fork out as much as £36 million for a new striker, you think they could choose somebody who is approaching the peak of their career. Somebody that could potentially fire them to a Premier League title.

I mean we have seen young strikers succeed of late, namely people like Harry Kane and Saido Berahino. But £36 million is so much money for just raw talent. It’s the same amount that Chelsea bought Eden Hazard for back in 2012. Three million pounds less than Arsenal’s bid for Alexis Sanchez. Sometimes you just have to put these figures into context.

Even if Martial were to succeed, it would require him to become the next Ballon d’Or winner to make the transfer look like a good bit of business.

Let’s talk a bit about the player though. I watched a scouting video and my notes read:

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“The lad looks pretty good with his feet and is extremely fast. He has started out wide usually for Monaco, but you can definitely see a striker’s instinct in how he chooses to finish, carefully calculating an angle to slide it past the goalkeeper. He looks like he will be a fine striker, but it is so hard to tell at this age. Nicklas Bendtner looked like a prodigy at 19.”

What’s that the transfer went through? My God what has Louis van Gaal done. This could potentially be the greatest waste of money in Premier League history. Covering this as it is happening is really quite exciting.”

The fate of young Martial is now only up to him. Though there’s not much the young lad can do except to give it a go. If Wayne Rooney continues to fail – he will potentially lead the most prolific side in the history of English football at the age of 19.

Imagine trying to tell someone that as late as 2014. Is David Moyes manager? No, it’s Louis van Gaal. Much has changed my friend, much has changed.