Anthony Martial has given his agent the green light to sound out interest in a potential summer move after growing frustrated with his lack of opportunities at Manchester United, Goal understands.
Martial arrived at Old Trafford from Monaco in the summer of 2015 for a fee which has since risen to over £43 million and has 14 months remaining on his four-year deal, with the club retaining the right to trigger a further one-year option.
But his lack of regular game time under Jose Mourinho, particularly following the arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January, has left the attacker feeling concerned about his position in the pecking order at United.
Bayern Munich and Juventus are among the clubs who have been following developments, and, while there are reasons why both European giants may not take the plunge this summer, Martial has permitted his agent to scope out interest away from United as he looks to assess his options.
Having started 85 per cent of games under Louis van Gaal in his first season at the club, Martial has been included in just 46% of the starting XIs selected by Mourinho since the Portuguese took over as United manager in 2016.
And that lack of involvement has only increased since Sanchez was snapped up from Arsenal in the January window, with Martial’s natural position on the left side of attack having largely been occupied by the Chilean since the winter transfer. The recent switch in formation to a 4-3-3 has also served to push Martial to the fringes, with the reduction in attacking starters further limiting his opportunities.
Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley has been vocal in his disgruntlement at the way his client has been treated over the past couple of years, and admitted in March that he could not rule out a summer move for the France international.
“Will Martial stay in Manchester in the summer? I’m sorry, but at the moment I cannot say anything else about it,” Lamboley told ilbianconero.com.
Lamboley had previously claimed it had been “disrespectful and misplaced” for Mourinho to hand Zlatan Ibrahimovic the United number nine shirt, switching Martial to number 11 shortly after he had unveiled a new ‘AM9’ brand.
He also caused a stir in December 2016 when claiming there had been interest in Martial from Sevilla, and that he and his player were “studying this possibility… we are talking about a large club.”
Bayern were seemingly in pole position to land Martial ahead of Juventus this summer, with the financial package involved set to rule the Italian champions out of the picture as they look to plug the gap left by the expected departure of Mario Mandzukic.
Mandzukic has two years to run on his contract in Turin but has been playing a reduced role for the Bianconeri this calendar year. But while Juve see Martial as an ideal replacement for the Croatian, they believe the costs involved in prising the forward away from Old Trafford to be out of their range.
However, reports in Germany suggest that incoming Bayern boss Niko Kovac is keen to stick with Kingsley Coman, Serge Gnabry, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery as his wide attacking options, with only an unforeseen exit of one of Robben or Ribery likely to send the Bundesliga champions into the market.And while there appears to be little at present in the reports linking Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea with moves for Martial, the player wants an end to his current impasse at Manchester United. The way is therefore clear for Europe’s big clubs to show their interest as the 18-cap France star considers the possibility that his Old Trafford career may be coming to a close.