Anthony Martial is set to be a high-profile casualty of Jose Mourinho’s summer revamp at Manchester United, a source close to the club has told Yahoo Sport.
United invested heavily in Martial as they signed the France striker from Monaco the 2015 summer transfer window, with the youthful striker costing an initial £36m as he sealed his surprise move to Old Trafford.
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While he made his mark under the guidance of manager Louis van Gaal and scored that goal that took United into last season’s FA Cup final, Martial has struggled to impress boss Jose Mourinho this season and has been publicly criticised by his manager.
Mourinho urged Martial to ‘listen to me and not his agent’ as rumours appeared in the Spanish media linking him with a move to Sevilla in January, with the player’s advisers fuelling the reports by adding his comments to the media stories.
Mourinho has also suggested he had better options in his forward line and has left Martial out of his line-up for key games like last Sunday’s 2-0 win against Chelsea at Old Trafford.
“He has to perform better than the others who are competing for the same positions,” Mourinho stated, as he explained why he left Martial out of his side earlier this year.
“His position is one where we have lots of options. The players pick themselves. I am just there to analyse what they do and try to be fair with them.”
Now Yahoo Sport UK understand that Mourinho would not stand in the way of Martial’s departure from United, as he has yet to be won over by the players attitude or ability as he has refused to play him in his favoured centre-forward position.
The 21-year-old forward has started just 12 Premier League games for United this season, with doubts expressed by United’s coaching hierarchy about his levels of desire and tendency to drift out of games for long periods.
This latest twist in the Martial story comes after a series of incidents that have created distance between the player and his manager over the last few months.
Mourinho’s relationship with Martial started on a rocky footing as he allowed new arrival Zlatan Ibrahimovic to take the No.9 shirt that had been worn by the Frenchman last season.
That caused a degree of embarrassment for Martial and his management team, who launched a publicity campaign around his No.9 jersey shortly after it was handed to Ibrahimovic.
His omission from key games over the course of this season has also been a blow to Martial’s confidence, with Marcus Rashford moving well ahead of him in Mourinho’s pecking order behind first choice striker Ibrahimovic.
United would be certain to demand a fee in excess of £35m if they opt to sell him and create space for fresh arrivals in the forward line, with Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann and Everton forward Romelu Lukaku among the big names being linked with a move to Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, defender Luke Shaw is also still expected to leave the Old Trafford club at the end of this season, even though he made a positive impression as his returned to Mourinho’s plans after a series of public dressing downs from the United manager.
Mourinho will continue to state in interviews that he is keen to hang on to both Martial and Shaw, yet two of the club’s most promising young players could be cast aside unless they win over their sceptical manager in the final month of this season.