Anthony Martial has been offered a new five-year contract by Manchester United, according to reports. Despite the player’s agent making it clear over the summer that Martial wants out of United, he is now considering signing the new deal “because he thinks that he can outlast José Mourinho”.
Mourinho has reportedly “told friends this summer that he wanted to get rid of Martial, 22, because he was unhappy about his attitude.” Various and repeated press leaks over the summer made it clear that Mourinho would have been happy to cash in on any potential Martial deal in order to fund a transfer for a right-sided attacker. Instead, executive vice-chairman and de facto director of football vetoed any sale of Martial, believing that he was too talented to let go.
At the end of the window, it seemed that all parties found a way to lose. The chairman had a valuable asset on an expiring contract, the manager had a player that couldn’t or wouldn’t meet his demands, and the player was stuck in a situation where his form and confidence seemed to be deteriorating rapidly.
As talented as Martial is, this news — if accurate — sets a dangerous precedent. New contracts should be earned, not given out to “protect assets.” Likewise, the club offering extensions to players that Mourinho would like to move on from is undermining in the extreme. Worst of all, once players believe that they are more valuable to the club than the man who is meant to be the boss — no matter what you think of Mourinho — that is a scenario in which no manager can be expected to succeed.