Arsenal have ideal reason to complete Marcus Rashford transfer after clear Man United message

Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford

It is eight years since Marcus Rashford arrived in the Premier League. Arsenal will remember it well.

Half an hour in and he had scored on his debut at Old Trafford. It was his first start for Manchester United having come from the bench days earlier as a raw and exciting (excited) teenager to help a team managed by Louis van Gaal into the Europa League last 16.

Six full seasons later and the academy boy, born and raised in Wythenshawe, is not a popular member of the current group among some supporters. Twelve months ago he was carrying Erik ten Hag's attack towards a strong first campaign in England.

Rashford managed 30 goals in all competition - more than any Arsenal player - despite a not-always functional forward line around him. Between December 2022 after the World and the start of March he managed ten goals in as many games. only failing to score in one.

It was the fourth time he'd broken double figures for goals in the league alone and came with five assists. He's up to 83 and 39 respectively from 270 matches. He's still only 26 and has 60 England caps.

For United alone he has over 100 goals. He's been a two-time Player of the Year at Old Trafford, been top scorer in two separate competitions in his career. There's a trophy cabinet including two League Cups, a Europa League, and an FA Cup. He's 26.

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Rashford has carried the weight of an entire club on his back throughout a barren run failing to live up to the lofty standards of previous generations of squad-building or head coach success. In the meantime, he's shown up an entire government during a pandemic. He was born in the same week as Benjamin White, who's also 26.

His time as a pro has been spent under immense scrutiny, only ever able to be the Wonder Boy or the disappointment of half a city. Rashford, more than most, appears to have become a victim of the modern era where only polarising views will do.

He himself will accept, and has done previously, when form is poor and performances underwhelming. The pile-on that often follows his quieter periods is remarkable towards someone who has done so much for their boyhood club at *checks notes* 26.

He won't be 27 until October this year. By that time he could be onto a sixth manager/interim. He's racked up almost 28,000 minutes in that time.

Yet, as he continues to have the misfortunate of playing for the most heavily scrutinised club in the country, there is little support going his way. The mitigation here is that no United player escapes the clutches of social media or even those in the stands on occasion when the season is this bad, but Rashford seems to get it worse than most.

He is on to deliver a second-worst invidiual season since 2018 and has just seven goals in the league, only one more in all competitions too. His form has dried up with two in ten now and the background noise of managerial changes, club-wide assessments from new investors Ineos, and the chance that European football might be about to slip away.

But Rashford is surely a player to rally behind rather than cast out. His is a story to be repeated and admired rather than taken for granted and disposed of.

Club legends hammer him instead of using the academy lad with the weight of an entire organisation on his shoulders as an example of where things went wrong. His contract and wages are used as tools to bash him with on a regular basis.

It's no surprise that after such a tough year for club and player, changes are afoot. United will, according to the Telegraph, listen to offers for all of their players, even Rashford. This is the public stance of most modern clubs now, but perhaps more so with a new group looking to make a real stamp of authority.

It's a put-up or get-out scenario and quite frankly it's understandable why the leaving option would be appealing, especially for someone like Rashford who rarely garners the support from his own fanbase that his achievements seem to deserve. Only last week he had to defend himself from yet more doubters that had gone to far.

"I appreciate your support!" he responded to a tweet from a fan calling out 'absolutely disgusting' treatment of the player. "It is abuse and has been for months. Enough is enough". That got little sympathy online, though, with yet more angry reaction coming.

Just days earlier, he was booed off the Wembley pitch by some of his own supporters during the FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City and that was before the late equaliser. For Arsenal the thought must be there.

Rashford is a player who fits their squad. He is English, of the right age bracket - 26, by the way, between experienced enough but still room to improve and develop - and plays across the frontline. He is quick, something that can be lacking, and most importantly, could thrive in the right environment.

Arsenal have already seen with Kai Havertz what a bit of confidence and the move from a highly-pressurised environment to tranquil oasis can do for form. Arsenal supporters took their time to understand the German but now can't get enough of him. Mikel Arteta's track record with these players is about as good as it gets currently.

So if the reality that Rashford would be sold by United for the right price is true, even if they aren't actively seeking to let go someone who only last year signed a new long-term deal, then Arsenal would be justified in testing the water. He has been linked with the club before in the past and even with his stocks as low as they have been for some time, the only way is up.

Players like Rashford don't come around that often. Arsenal learnt that the hard way, now they have an unexpected chance to rub it into yet another one of their rivals.