Anthony Martial: a new Man Utd deal and the Ronaldo-Rashford challenge
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is excited by the French forward’s future at Old Trafford
While their Premier League rivals were busy yesterday buying and selling players, on transfer deadline day Manchester United were focused on securing the long-term future of one of their current stars.
After months of speculation that he may leave Old Trafford French forward Anthony Martial has put pen to paper on a new contract. The 23-year-old’s new deal will see him stay at United until June 2024, with the option to extend a further year.
Martial has scored 46 goals in 162 matches since arriving from Monaco for £36m in 2015. On announcing the new deal, he said: “I am loving my time at this club. From the day I joined I have been made to feel part of the United family and I have been incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the warmth and love of our fans, who continue to amaze me with their support.
“I would like to thank Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his coaching staff for their belief in me and for helping me to take my game to the next level.
“This club is all about winning trophies and I am sure the next piece of silverware is not that far away.”
United caretaker manager Solskjaer added: “Anthony is one of those naturally gifted players that any coach would love to work with. For a young man, he has a good footballing brain which, when coupled with his exceptional talent, makes for a player with an exciting future ahead of him.
“This is the perfect club for Anthony to progress his development as a top-class forward and we are all delighted he has signed a long-term deal.”
Ronaldo is the role model
ESPN reports that Solskjaer has challenged Martial to follow in the footsteps of former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo and become one of the best players in the world while at United.
Solskjaer said: “You talk about Cristiano’s career, what he’s made, how he’s got there. Cristiano was the best, the way he’s changed to now.
“That’s part of any player - you’ve got to model yourself on someone and you’ve got to have more challenges ahead of you. Anthony sat down and wants to be a part of that and the club have got a top player there.”
Since Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker boss in December United have turned around their form with eight wins and one draw from his nine matches in charge.
A major reason for United’s unbeaten run has been the form shown by Martial, 23, and his fellow forward Marcus Rashford, 21.
Despite playing a similar position Solskjaer believes that the duo can learn from each other’s games and form a devastating attacking partnership.
Solskjaer said: “Healthy competition, but also they can create a relationship. In the coming years, we’ll see loads of combinations between those two.”
On Sunday United travel to Leicester City in the Premier League (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports) and Solskjaer is hopeful that Martial will be fit for the clash at the King Power Stadium.
Martial missed the 2-2 draw with Burnley on Tuesday because of an injury picked up in training.
“Anthony has done some rehab work, so he will try a session today, so I would imagine he would be available to be involved,” said Solskjaer. “He seemed happy yesterday.”
Premier League fixtures and TV guide
Saturday 2 February (3pm unless stated)
- Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Watford
- Burnley vs. Southampton
- Chelsea vs. Huddersfield Town
- Crystal Palace vs. Fulham
- Everton vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Cardiff City vs. AFC Bournemouth (5.30pm, live on BT Sport 1)
Sunday 3 February
- Leicester City vs. Manchester United (2.05pm, live on Sky Sports)
- Manchester City vs. Arsenal (4.30pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 4 February
- West Ham United vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on Sky Sports)