Manchester United and Sevilla have reportedly reached an agreement over a loan deal for French forward Anthony Martial – with the 26-year-old set to spend the rest of the season on the books of the La Liga side.
Martial’s agent made it clear back in December that his client would be seeking a move away from Old Trafford this month in order to secure himself regular first-team football.
Frequently on the fringes at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in the past couple of seasons, Martial later confirmed his desire to leave in a meeting with interim United boss Ralf Rangnick.
The Frenchman found himself at the centre of controversy earlier this month when Rangnick alleged that Martial had refused to take his place in the matchday squad for the Red Devils trip to Aston Villa, leaving United with only eight substitutes out of a possible nine.
The player himself disputed those claims, but the whole episode summed up just how strained Martial’s relationship with the club had become.
It wasn’t always this way, though. As recently as the 2019/20 campaign, Martial was United’s leading scorer, finding the net on 23 occasions in all competitions.
Injuries had blighted Martial’s progress at regular intervals since his £54 million switch from Monaco in 2015, but the young star looked to be on the way to fulfilling his enormous potential with a string of fantastic performances.
A compilation of Martial in action during that period shows a player at the peak of his powers. Full of confidence and never afraid to take on an opponent or try an audacious piece of skill, United looked to have a genuine top-tier talent on their hands.
The sight of Martial gliding past defenders with ease while clearly loving his football is such a departure from the frustrated figure we’ve seen in recent months that it’s almost hard to believe it’s footage of the same player.
You can check it out below.
Video: Anthony Martial really was on a different level for Manchester United in 2020
After suffering a ruptured knee ligament on international duty with France last March, Martial has struggled for both form and match fitness. He has just one goal to his credit for United this season in 11 appearances.
His parting gift – for now – to the Old Trafford faithful was an important cameo in United’s 1-0 Premier League victory over West Ham on Saturday, where he played a vital role in the build-up to Marcus Rashford’s late winner.
With less than 18 months left on his current contract, there’s a possibility of that contribution being Martial’s last act in a Red Devils’ shirt, especially if he enjoys a fruitful spell with Sevilla.
He certainly has the raw talent to be a success in Spain. Time will tell if Martial is able to translate that into his performances on the pitch.