Former Manchester United players Lee Lawrence and Phil Marsh both say it’s the right time for striker Anthony Martial to move on.
Martial is rumoured to have put in a transfer request, per his agent yesterday, after a lack of game time this season.
After signing for the club in 2015 and having a startling impact on his debut against Liverpool, it’s been a career of fits and starts for the French forward at Old Trafford.
So highly regarded was his potential that there was a Ballon d’Or winner clause inserted into negotiations to sign him – but it’s been a long way off that for a variety of reasons.
He was out of favour but still in form under Jose Mourinho and was the biggest playing casualty of the disastrous Alexis Sánchez signing – although his form recovered under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it was never to the point where you could be convinced he would determine the big games, and after the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo and especially with the new pressing system under Ralf Rangnick, it seems his time is up, with his representative suggesting he wants to leave as soon as January.
“I think it’s the right time,” Lee Lawrence said exclusively on this week’s Talking Devils podcast. “He’s been a decent player, he’s had a couple of good seasons, but I just keep thinking that every week on this podcast we pick what we think will be our team in the game and he doesn’t even enter my head anymore.
“That’s not saying he’s not a good player – at one point it looked as though he may turn out to be world class, and I think the club were worried about letting him go and it might turn out to bite us. But the system Ralf seems to want to play doesn’t suit Martial’s style whatsoever. I hope he goes on and does well, there’s no ill feeling, I hope he goes on and gets some first team football. Good luck to the lad, it’s probably time he moves on to pastures new.”
Former United striker Phil Marsh is in agreement. He knows all about fierce competition for places, having been at the club when Solskjaer was a player, and at the same time as Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Alan Smith and Louis Saha,
“I think it’s best that it happens for both parties,” Marsh says. “The new style won’t suit him and he’s probably fifth or sixth in the pecking order. He looks short of confidence and there’s the consistency factor that’s always been there with him.
“There have been a lot of fantastic moments but we’ve not seen enough of it over a long period of time. Being the age he is, he should be coming into his prime, but he seems to have taken a couple of steps back. I’m not knocking him, there’s some strong competition, but I know myself as a striker that if you play one week and then don’t play for the next two or three you can’t get into any real flow or even get your fitness to where it needs to be.”
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