Anthony Martial has been linked with a move to Barcelona. Credit: Getty.
Barcelona are interested in signing Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, according to recent reports.
The French forward has struggled to hold down a regular spot in the side at Old Trafford this season and, despite being selected in the recent win over Villarreal, has started just four matches in all competitions this term, only two of which have come in the Premier League.
Since scoring 23 in the 2019/20 campaign, Martial has struggled for consistency and netted just seven times in 36 appearances last term, while he’s found the back of the net just once so far this season and has played 90 minutes just once.
With competition from the likes of Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard and Edinson Cavani, the United No.9 is finding game time difficult to come by.
What’s been reported?
Catalan outlet ARA reported on Sunday that Barcelona’s football director, Mateu Alemany, and CEO, Ferran Reverter, enquired about Martial’s availability during a recent trip to Manchester.
It’s believed the pair were in England to approach Manchester City regarding the possibility of bringing Ferran Torres to the Camp Nou, and also spoke to United about Martial’s situation.
There was no mention of a potential fee by ARA, nor was there an indication as to whether the Red Devils would be willing to let Martial leave.
Our view - could a deal happen?
As we approach January, reports of this nature should always be taken with a pinch of salt, although there’s no denying United have too many options in the attacking areas.
The club have always prided themselves on their youth production, but the surplus of first-team stars at Old Trafford means the likes of Shola Shoretire and Anthony Elanga have failed to play in the Premier League this season.
As for Martial, his United career has stagnated and a move for the former Monaco man is in everyone’s best interests at this stage. There’s no denying the 25-year-old’s talent but he’s failed to push on since his impressive performances in 2019/20 and, when selected, games can often pass him by.
Then there’s also the question of Martial’s position and, now in his seventh season at United, there are still doubts about whether the attacker should be deployed as a central striker or out wide.
Meanwhile, Ralf Ragnick’s immediate arrival at United could spell the end of Martial’s career in Manchester, with the Frenchman not renowned for his work rate out of possession.
In Barcelona’s case, they could unquestionably do with further resources up front, especially given Sergio Aguero might be forced to retire due to medical reasons.
While Memphis Depay represents a reliable option up front, the back-ups of Martin Braithwaite and Luuk de Jong aren’t of the standard required to compete for league titles and in Europe, while Martial could also add to their depth out wide.
But given the Catalan’s financial difficulties, it seems unlikely they have the finances to offer United a fee for Martial or give the Red Devils No.9 a wage on par with what he currently earns.
Therefore, any hopes of a transfer would likely depend on Barcelona offering United a player in return, ideally one who’s departure would significantly reduce their wage bill.