It is expected that Anthony Martial will rejoin Manchester United in the summer after spending the season on loan at Sevilla.
All sides appeared to agree that Anthony Martial’s January loan move from Manchester United to Sevilla made sense.
After a public fight with interim manager Ralf Rangnick over Martial’s desire for a new beginning away from Manchester United, the player decided to leave Old Trafford. Martial’s status had never been lower, and Sevilla’s loan offer to the striker represented an opportunity for him to rekindle his career in the Spanish capital.
Neither United nor Martial received any substantial or adequate offers to sanction his permanent departure in January, which came as no surprise. After only a little more than 200 minutes of Premier League action since August, his injury record was a source of concern for the club. Martial has gone from being a dynamic striker to being a non-factor in the team’s success. From his eight seasons at Manchester, the Frenchman has had only two successful campaigns.
Sevilla agreed to cover the entirety of the player’s salaries, and the loan agreement was extended until the end of the season. The Spanish side were well aware that signing Martial would be a calculated risk, but it’s clear that the gamble hasn’t been worthwhile. Sevilla will be relieved that they did not make an all-in bid for a long-term deal.
When the chips are down, Martial has never been able to perform well. During his time at United, he was never able to deal with the pressure of competing for positions, and his character appears to be too fragile to withstand adversity. Due to the fact that Sevilla have been underperforming since Martial arrived, he has been powerless to help his temporary team reverse their downward spiral. In his professional life, Martial has become all too familiar with the concept of regression.
The 26-year-old has made 11 appearances for Sevilla, scoring one goal and providing one assist in the process. Considering his recent performances, Sevilla might feel cheated for agreeing to pay Martial’s wages, as he is one of United’s highest-paid players.
With Sevilla, Martial has been hampered by injuries once again. Because of a muscular injury, the United loanee was unable to make it into Jule Lopetegui’s squad for Sevilla’s last two games, and the loan is having the opposite effect of what the club hoped: Martial’s stock is actually falling even further.
Fans of Sevilla have also made it clear that they have strong sentiments for him. After their initial exuberance at acquiring a player who could potentially inspire them to the La Liga title — Sevilla were in contention for the title at the time of the signing — that excitement has been replaced by frustration and bemusement.
After being booed by the Sevilla fans for his performance against Barcelona last month, those feelings turned into rage for the Manchester United forward. The jeers were directed at Lopetegui, according to AS. “This is elite football, and people are free to express themselves as they feel,” he said when asked about them.
“I have to assist him in becoming the best version of himself.” He is also a professional, and he must perform his duties and adapt to the demands placed on him.”
Martial is set to return to Manchester United at the end of the season, and he has a contract with the club that runs until June 2024; you don’t have to be a genius to see that this is a problem for United. The club’s current contract policy can be traced back to the club’s former executive vice president Ed Woodward and former general manager Matt Judge.
The loan move to Sevilla was intended to make Martial a more appealing proposition to potential suitors. However, his reputation has suffered yet another setback, and it will be difficult to persuade any suitors to sign a permanent deal with Manchester United. Only a small number of clubs can afford Martial’s high wages, and teams of that caliber are unlikely to be interested in a player who appears to be past his prime.
Even if the loan to Sevilla appeared to benefit all parties involved, Martial’s impending return to Manchester United does not bode well for either the club or the player four months after leaving. It appears that a divorce is required to bring a stop to what appeared to be the perfect marriage. In 2015, Martial had the entire world at his feet.
Erik ten Hag may potentially revive Martial’s career, but his performances for Sevilla on loan make that doubtful. The club may decide to release Martial from his contract entirely if they are unable to find a permanent or temporary home for him by the summer of 2018.
Martial’s tenure at Manchester United would undoubtedly come to an end in such a manner, but, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shown with Alexis Sanchez, it may be required in some circumstances.