Recent reports suggest Bayern are in the hunt for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial. Here’s why he’d be a dream signing.
After reports of unrest in Manchester, being forced to a bit-part player at Manchester United after the arrival of Alexis Sanchez, there are rumors galore of Anthony Martial looking to move away from Old Trafford this summer. According to Calciomercato,Bayern Munich are a leading club to secure his signature. The transfer could not come at a better time for the German champions, and considering his ceiling and current ability, an apparent €50 million fee would be an absolute steal.
Earlier in the season, I discussed the concept of versatility, focusing on how having a player of Robert Lewandowski’s talents can lead to some pitfalls. An unwillingness to sit out is seen across the final third for Bayern, with legends Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben looking to extend their contracts for yet a further year and Lewandowski being as goal-hungry as ever.
Their determination is admirable and welcome. However, it can cause problems. Removing any opportunity for rotation, their constant presence in the squad has led to promising players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Douglas Costa looking for regular playing time elsewhere. Shaqiri is facing a relegation battle with Stoke in the Premier League. However, Douglas Costa has proved himself as one of Juventus’ heroes in their seventh consecutive scudetto campaign.
The solution I proffered was the acquisition of a player who can cover a multitude of positions, specifically as a winger and a center-forward; a touch-to-touch forward if you will. I suggested Nabil Fekir, an attacking everyman who pushed Lyon through a difficult Ligue 1 campaign, scoring 21 goals across three competitions. This season he was awarded the Lyon captaincy. The armband shot him into one of the best seasons of his career, becoming one of Europe’s hottest properties.
His signature has now become virtually impossible, especially considering Bayern bought his former teammate Corentin Tolisso at the start of the season. Another one of his France teammates, however, could be a different story.
Anthony Martial will begin the following season at 22-years-old, having already had three full seasons in England and one-and-a-half playing for Monaco’s senior team in France.
Arriving in Manchester for £36 million, he broke the record for the most expensive teenager. After eyebrows were raised, his performances were lauded by the professionals with Sir Alex Ferguson claiming “he can do anything.”
A pacy center-forward who had a great eye for goal and dribbling ability, Martial was given Manchester United’s number 9 shirt. It had been worn by a number of top players, including Andy Cole, Louis Saha, Dimitar Berbatov and — despite his lack of good performances in it — Radamel Falcao. Shirt numbers are purely a formality, but certain numbers carry a tremendous weight. And the number 9 has that weight.
After a great season, scoring 17 goals in all competitions, Martial’s shirt number was handed to new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. This was the beginning of Martial being swept away in place of the latest hot topic. Zlatan’s arrival was one thing, forcing Martial to play out wide as a left-winger. However it does not end there.
He got on with it, and — having scored 24 goals and 22 assists in 81 matches — he appears to have settled into the wide area nicely. After playing superbly for all of January, scoring three and assisting one, the left wing position was indisputably his
That was until Manchester United purchased yet another aging player to take the first-team position. Alexis Sanchez has performed well for United after a tricky start, but with Romelu Lukaku finding form as a center-forward, Anthony Martial is now second choice again, unable to keep his position in the squad.
There is a cloud of uncertainty over Bayern Munich at the moment. With weeks of conflicting reports of new managers, contract extensions, departures, etc., no one really seems to definitely know what is happening with the club.
With Niko Kovac now confirmed as Bayern manager for next season, the next confirmation is looking to be contract extensions of both Ribery and Robben. After that, the hottest rumor appears to be that of Robert Lewandowski potentially leaving Bayern and going to Real Madrid.
With this, Bayern will be left with a wing selection of Ribery, Robben and Kingsley Coman — with Serge Gnabry, James Rodriguez and Thomas Müller all playing more centrally this year — and a striker selection of, assuming for now that Lewandowski does leave, Sandro Wagner.
The situation becomes a matter of which position Martial would play when someone is rested. Being able to cover multiple positions is a facet that pushes some players to the next level. Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s adeptness at playing centrally and as wingers has helped them cement themselves at the very top of the soccer world for years. Elsewhere, Martial’s current teammate Jesse Lingard’s versatility has kept him in the United lineup for weeks. While he is by no means world class, his ability in an array of positions puts him as a consistent player in Jose Mourinho’s books.
With the purchase of Anthony Martial, Bayern will be able to bring in one player that has the impact of three.