In our Transfers that shook the club feature, Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at deals that many may not have seen coming and the impact that they had during their time by using statistical data and pundit remarks.
He was meant to be the next big thing. Supposedly, Manchester United had got their hands on the next Thierry Henry back in 2015.
Though after spending £36m on Anthony Martial to make him the most expensive teenager of all-time, questions were raised in his native France about the sum his raw talent had persuaded United to part with over four years ago.
Nevertheless, Martial would go on to have an instant impact upon his switch to Old Trafford, scoring in his debut appearance against Liverpool, which was followed up by a brace as United saw off Southampton a week later in a man-of-the-match display.
Despite that astonishing start, hopes of Martial replicating the achievements of compatriot Henry or proving people wrong in his homeland – who were left ‘speechless’ thinking £36m was far too high a price to pay – look bleak at best given what has followed for Martial and United since.
It had started so well as Martial had helped United to top the 2015/16 table by the end of his first month at the club, though as we know now, things have hardly improved from his explosive start.
From a goalscoring perspective, Martial would go without another Premier League goal until December, in a 2-1 home defeat to Norwich City. That said, 17 goals in his first United year capped a decent return for the youngster.
Now approaching his 24th birthday in a few weeks’ time, Martial has yet to top his tally from his first United campaign – but did recently bring up his half-ton in United colours, as has teammate Marcus Rashford, who broke into the first team a few months after the Frenchman’s arrival.
But it is clear he has not delivered on the impact he had during his opening weeks at the club, which could be put down to the changes in management, the emergence of rivals for his first-team place, and the lack of success United have endured over the last two seasons, in particular.
Entrusted to lead the line now former colleagues are out of the way, Martial has somehow outlasted them to try and revive his career at the forefront of the United attack, and after notching three times from seven Premier League outings so far this season, perhaps he can rekindle the vibe that prompted United to sign him in 2015.
Is this the worst Manchester United team in the Premier League era?
United fans, has Martial underachieved at the club? Can he still pay off his transfer fee? Let us know in the comments below!
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