Should Chelsea make a move for Anthony Martial?
Anthony Martial moved to Manchester United from AS Monaco on a big money move in 2015. The French forward had a great start to life at Old Trafford, scoring 17 goals in 49 appearances in his first season.
The forward has since fallen out of favour with the current Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, with Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford ahead of him in the pecking order. Further in June, Martial's representative, Philippe Lamboley also confirmed that the player wants to leave the club. The forward has also announced the birth of his second child recently after leaving Manchester United's preseason tour of the US midway to be by his partner's side.
With the player entering the final year of his contract, even though Manchester United have an option of extending a further year, there is no doubt that the list of his suitors will be long. Chelsea, Tottenham and Bayern Munich are among the host of clubs, who appear to be interested in his services.
Where will Anthony Martial fit in at Chelsea and what are the chances that he makes the move to West London?
Should Chelsea make a move for Martial?
Anthony Martial made his first foray into professional football with Olympique Lyonnais, aged 17 before transferring to AS Monaco in 2013. It was at Monaco, where he made his name as one of the best young talents in Europe.
After earning rave reviews for his performances during his time at Monaco, Manchester United made him the most expensive teenager ever at that time with a reported fee of £36 million potentially rising to £58 million with performance-related bonuses.
After a dazzling start to his Manchester United career under Louis Van Gaal, the French forward has struggled for regular game time with Jose Mourinho as manager. After playing for 2632 minutes in the Premier League season 2015-16, he has managed to amass merely 1558 minutes and 1584 minutes in the next two seasons successively. Alexis Sanchez's arrival has cast an even bigger question mark on Martial's United career.
Anthony Martial is at a stage of his career, where he needs regular game time to further develop or he risks stagnation. He is a versatile forward, who can play on both wings -- at center forward and even behind the striker.
His main strengths lie in his dribbling ability, finishing and link up play. He is a joy to watch when he is running at opposition defenders. Even though he has spent most of his time playing as a left winger in England, he certainly has a future as a center forward.
French national team today is a team stacked with elite young talent in almost every position and despite being aged 22, he has amassed 18 appearances for his country and that also speaks volumes about his talents.
Sadly, he was unable to make it to the World Cup, but so was the case with players like Alexandre Lacazette and Karim Benzema.
Chelsea under Sarri are playing football with a new attacking style this upcoming season. They could do a lot worse than signing Anthony Martial. With Martial, they should get a highly promising young player, who is good enough to start for Chelsea already and can fill up multiple positions in attack.
And with Willian, Pedro and strikers Morata, Batshuayi and Giroud linked with a move away, there is certainly room for a player of his pedigree and skill set.
Tottenham are another potential destination for the player and Chelsea should act quickly, rather than wasting any time in bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
Likelihood of a move to Chelsea
Chelsea have not been averse to selling players to their rivals, if the price quoted is right. The biggest example of this was the sale of Nermanja Matic to Manchester United last summer, who was looking a vital cog in the Manchester United midfield. Whether Manchester United will be willing to sell Martial to Chelsea is a completely different discussion altogether.
Anthony Martial's agent recently stated that the player wants to leave. He further added that the time had come for the player to resume his career somewhere else, but as the player is under contract, the final decision will be of the club.
Clearly, clubs have a good chance of signing Anthony Martial as even Jose Mourinho now appears to be open to the idea of Martial's exit.
The potential roadblocks to the deal for Chelsea are Manchester United's valuation of the player and the club's preference to sell him to another club abroad rather than strengthen a domestic rival. Manchester United have reportedly slapped a €100 million price tag.
The above mentioned price does not sound reasonable for a player wanting out and especially one who has come out publicly to say so through his representatives. However, the solution to this problem might be lying in Chelsea's own roster.
Willian has been linked to Manchester United ever since Mourinho took over in 2016. Both player and the coach have enjoyed a fruitful relationship even after the Portuguese left Chelsea. He talked recently about Mourinho.
"He likes me a lot and I like him a lot as a coach and as a person. He has put his trust in me and in my work, and I was very grateful to him," he said.
He further shared that Manchester United did approach him in the summer ahead of 2017-18 season. "Manchester came to me, they talked with my agent, but nothing happened, because Chelsea would not negotiate me in any way and I'm very happy at Chelsea."
It's clear that Manchester United are interested in signing Willian and Chelsea may attempt to use this interest by trying to negotiate a swap deal with Martial coming the other way. Even though the likelihood of the deal is uncertain as very few swap deals happen in football.
But Manchester United are certainly not against a swap deal as they concluded a similar deal with Arsenal by bringing in Alexis Sanchez with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going to Arsenal.
Whoever manages to sign Anthony Martial would certainly be getting a talented young player with a very high upside. He has the characteristics and the skill set to play in the Sarri system and might develop to another level under his tutelage.
Willian, on the other hand, gets the chance to reunite with Jose Mourinho -- the man who appreciates him as a player, and he could also provide the much needed balance to Manchester United's attack.
If Chelsea want to bring in Martial, they certainly have a lot of work to do before the summer transfer window shuts and the effort might very well prove worth it, with the potential gains in the future.