Transfer Talk: Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United but what does the future hold for the forward?

The Transfer Talk podcast is back for the January window and Anthony Martial's future at Manchester United was up for discussion as European football expert Tom Williams joined Dharmesh Sheth and host Pete Graves

Manchester United's Anthony Martial during the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. Picture date: Saturday August 14, 2021.
Image: Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United for regular football

European football expert Tom Williams joined The Transfer Talk podcast on Tuesday to discuss what the future holds for Anthony Martial as he searches for an exit from Manchester United.

Martial is keen to leave Old Trafford this month, amid interest from clubs in Spain and Italy, in a bid to reignite his stuttering career.

The French forward has scored just one goal in only 10 games for United this season and was accused by Ralf Rangnick of asking not to play in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.

Martial refuted Rangnick's claim and - while the interim manager says the situation is "resolved" - Dharmesh Sheth explains why Martial's denial could be part of his plan to attract a new club during the January window.

Tom also assesses where the 26-year-old's career has gone wrong since he became the most expensive teenager of all time when he joined United in the summer of 2015.

Are Martial's days at Man Utd numbered?

Dharmesh Sheth explains why Anthony Martial denied he refused to play for Manchester United, and asks whether a loan move makes sense for all parties...

"Are we surprised that he denied the accusation? No, not surprised at all. I think we were expecting a response from Martial given the accusation that he asked not to be involved in that squad against Aston Villa on Saturday.

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"Martial wants out at Manchester United and it's not a good look to potential suitors if he's seen to be refusing to play. It's not a good look for Martial or United overall, let's make no mistake about it.

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Manchester United interim head coach Ralf Rangnick says he had a 'personal conversation' with Anthony Martial after they clashed over whether the forward had refused to play

"As for potential suitors, his preferred destination is Sevilla. He thinks he'll get more game time there and they're fighting for the La Liga title. Barcelona and Juventus are also reportedly interested - Sky in Italy are going quite big on Juventus actually.

"As for United, they really don't want to do a loan, but I just wonder if they might be persuaded if a club came in and said, 'we will pay 100 per cent of Martial's wages and we will give you a loan fee'.

"If you look at Martial's contract, United are in an OK position because his contract is up in 2024 and United have a club option to extend that for another year.

"I just wonder if it's in United's interests - if he's not going to play - for him to go out on loan? If he does and he plays very well and comes back to United in the summer, maybe the new manager will say, 'I do want you'. Failing that, if he does play well in a loan spell, that can only maintain his value."

Ronaldo's arrival was 'death knell' for Martial

Tom Williams breaks down the reasons why Martial has been unable to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford, and reveals which two team-mates he thinks have been holding back the forward...

"There are various reasons for him not having hit the heights that United would have hoped. There's been a lot of instability since he came to the club. He's played under four different managers, not all of whom have been his biggest fans - you think notoriously of Jose Mourinho.

"He's had injury problems. There's debate about his best position - is he best on the left or is he best through the middle?

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Manchester United fan Flex told the Early Kick-Off team that the rumours of Anthony Martial not wanting to play this weekend once again highlight that they must sort his future to avoid more unrest at the club

"There's obviously competition for places at United. I think one of the things that perhaps gets overlooked a bit is how unfortunate Marcus Rashford's emergence has been for Martial, because they're such similar players. But also you've got Mason Greenwood, you've got [Edinson] Cavani and now Cristiano Ronaldo.

"But ultimately you're just not sure how much he wants it. I'm always loathe to judge players on their body language but he's a maddening player to watch, particularly given the amount of ability he has. He's so inconsistent.

"When they came out of lockdown and finished the 2019/20 season, Martial was one of the absolute stars. But last season was a bit of a write-off and now he's out of the picture.

"He obviously needs to move. Ronaldo arriving was probably the death knell for his United career as the first-choice centre-forward. You suspect that, for both parties, the best thing is for him to move on."

'We thought Martial was the new Henry!'

Dharmesh recalls Martial's debut goal - a stunning individual strike in a 3-1 win over bitter rivals Liverpool - following his big-money move from Monaco...

"Martial has been at United for nearly seven years. We always talk about Martial as a great up-and-coming player. He's not a young player anymore.

"Remember how he burst onto the scene, everyone thought, 'this is the new Thierry Henry', the way he finished that goal against Liverpool on his debut. But it hasn't worked out."

Rangnick using deflection tactics with Martial

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Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick says Anthony Martial didn't want to be in the squad for their 2-2 draw with Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"Ralf Rangnick is deflecting away from everything that is going wrong at Manchester United. We're talking about Anthony Martial instead of how bad Manchester United were, and how they went from being 2-0 up to hanging on against Aston Villa.

"Let's be honest, Martial doesn't even play for United. When was the last time he played football? It's not like he's Mason Greenwood or Marcus Rashford, Martial never plays. It's clever management but also a major problem.

"Rangnick is covering himself when those things should be kept in-house. If Martial refused to play that's it now, he's finished at Manchester United, the fans are not going to have that."

Merson: Martial at Man Utd tinged with inconsistency

Sky Sports' Paul Merson:

"Martial has been behind the eight ball straight away with his aura and persona. He always looks casual, I'm not saying he is, but he does give that impression, and that is a problem.

"He never comes on with major enthusiasm but that is just the way the lad is, it doesn't mean he doesn't try, but people still think that way.

Anthony Martial has not been able to maintain the same consistency he achieved in the 2019/20 season
Image: Anthony Martial has not been able to maintain the same consistency he achieved in the 2019/20 season

"One thing I would say about his career at Manchester United is his complete and utter inconsistency. I've never really seen a player as inconsistent as Martial. One minute he could do something that would make you say 'wow', and then he wouldn't do anything for four or five games.

"For Martial to have been at Manchester United for seven years tells you there is talent there. He must pull up trees in training, he must be unbelievable. That is the big frustration because it hasn't come out consistently enough at Old Trafford.

"The kid will look back on his career and think, 'I was just at the biggest club in the world at Manchester United, I had the biggest opportunity, and I really blew it'. That is a shame."

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