First, to be clear, this article is not an article in favor of Manchester United selling Anthony Martial in the summer window. Martial has world class potential and is a fan favorite at Old Trafford, but the young Frenchman is constantly battling mental hurdles - and José Mourinho hurdles - keeping him from continuing good form. He doesn’t seem to handle criticism from the manager well, and has been linked with a move to 6 time reigning Italian champions Juventus. This article is meant to address that specific rumor and how United should handle it should Martial submit a request to leave the club.
If Mourinho must sell Martial, United need to get something more than extra funds out of the deal. Mourinho needs to put the club in a position to succeed for a long time if he truly wants to stay as manager at Old Trafford, and the best way to do that is to keep young talent. If he is unable or unwilling to keep a player like Martial he must bring in someone else who can contribute for longer than 2-3 seasons.
Juventus have long been interested in acquiring Martial’s services. In 2016 the Italians tried to persuade United to include the winger in the deal to bring back Paul Pogba, but United were unwilling to sell their new playmaker after just one season. Now that Martial again being sought after by the Bianconeri he can be used to acquire another player: Paulo Dybala.
Dybala has had an electric season so far for Juve. He has 25 goals in all competitions, nearly doubling his tally last season, and his expertise in the no. 10 role has caught the eye of United, who have yet to find a no. 10 to replace Wayne Rooney’s level of production, before his decline.
And, despite his stellar form, Massimiliano Allegri has still been willing to bench Dybala at times after just a couple games without a goal. Juventus may be a better option to win the Champions League for Dybala, but Juve are hardly challenged in Italy. They’re going for their 7th straight Scudetto and 4th straight Coppa Italia, but the real challenge for Dybala lies elsewhere. Dybala and Martial are both players who are capable of more, but maybe they aren’t at the right clubs to take their respective games to the next level.
Martial, who can excel at both winger and striker, is a player who needs more freedom while Dybala needs more stability. Mourinho’s style would put Dybala in the middle of the attack where he can add pace and precision where play has been stagnant for United. Martial could play opposite Juan Cuadrado, placing two lethal passers and scorers on either side of Gonzalo Higuain, the best no. 9 in Italy.
Another potential option for United could be another winger/forward who is almost certainly looking to leave: Neymar.
Neymar was tearing through French football as expected until suffering a season ending injury at the end of February. In order to mend properly in time for the World Cup Neymar left the team, but it would seem his unhappiness with his teammates, manager, and club officials may have been too much for him. He’s yet to return to PSG and didn’t seem overly enthusiastic at becoming a Ligue 1 champion. Neymar may want more of a challenge, and has stated in the past he hopes to play in the Premier League one day.
It would seem that Mourinho might be the only person on the planet who thinks United should sell Martial, but he must only do so in a deal that helps boost the squad well into the future.