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Anthony Martial’s agent has confirmed the forward wants to leave Manchester United, per Mohamed Bouhafsi of RMC Sport:
Mohamed Bouhafsi @mohamedbouhafsi
Exclu @RMCsport : Anthony Martial’s agent: “After thinking about all the possibilities and parameters, Anthony wants to leave Manchester United.” #MUFC
Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, told RMC (h/t Get French Football News) that United do not value his client based on their inability to agree a new contract: “I think that when Manchester United, the most powerful club in the world … do not find an agreement after eight months of negotiations, it is because they do not really want to make him an important member of the squad.”
In another telling quote, Lamboley appeared to suggest issues with United boss Jose Mourinho have influenced Martial’s decision: “Anthony simply wants to play, enjoy football again. The feeling with the manager will be essential.”
Possible problems between Martial and Mourinho have been an open secret for months, as the former AS Monaco attacker has struggled for consistent playing time.
Before United’s 3-2 win over Premier League champions-elect Manchester City in April, Charlotte Duncker of the Manchester Evening News reported Mourinho sent a message to Martial by dropping him for a league encounter with Swansea City.
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Later the same month, Mourinho pointedly avoided answering a direct question about Martial’s and Marcus Rashford’s playing time, per Mike Whalley of the Telegraph. In May, Mourinho questioned both Rashford and Martial when the pair started and failed to score during a 1-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion.
Afterwards, Mourinho said, per BBC Sport: “For 10 months I get asked, ‘Why always [Romelu] Lukaku? Why always Lukaku? Why always this player? That guy doesn’t have a chance to start, the other one is on the bench.’ You know why now.”
Mourinho’s seemingly lukewarm feeling on Martial is surprising since the Frenchman has all the attributes to be prolific at the highest level. Still just 22, Martial combines pace with power, close control and a keen eye for goal.
Yet for all his talent, his playing time and output have decreased markedly since Mourinho succeeded Louis van Gaal as manager in 2016:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Anthony Martial in the Premier League for Man Utd:
• 2,632 minutes
• 11 goals
• 4 assists
• 1,558 minutes
• 4 goals
• 6 assists
• 1,584 minutes
• 9 goals
• 5 assists
If United consent to his wishes, Martial will not find himself lacking for suitors. Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus are both keen, according to James Benge of the London Evening Standard, who also noted how Arsenal showed interest during the January transfer window.
However, letting a young player of Martial’s potential walk early may be a move United come to regret. The smarter play would be for Mourinho to salvage the obvious potential of this natural match-winner.