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Anthony Martial has given Manchester United an unexpected problem

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Manchester United match-going fans would have been excused if they were a little rusty when serenading Anthony Martial after his strike against Everton before the international break.

“Tony Martial, he came from France,” the Old Trafford crowd echoed as the Frenchman wheeled away in celebration at his deflected effort beyond Jordan Pickford. “The English press said he had no chance, 50 million down the drain, Tony Martial scores again…”

The chant had genuine weight to it following his transfer from AS Monaco, but six years later Martial still remains somewhat of an enigma and a figure who divides a good chunk of United supporters.

His deflected effort in the draw with Everton was just Martial’s third goal in his last 25 matches — even that is a rather complimentary figure given two of those came in the 9-0 thumping of 10-man Southampton earlier in the year.

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Now at the age of 25 he is far beyond being given the sympathy of youthful naivety and is instead expected to be delivering top-level performances on a weekly basis, something he has rarely done during his lengthy spell in Manchester.

Part of the issue is that Martial has always looked better playing from the left, the same wing where he terrorised Martin Skrtel and scored an iconic debut goal in victory over Liverpool.

Over the years he has played all across the front three and managed to find the net, though his best football has often been part of a fluid forward line, in particular the one with Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood after Project Restart in summer 2020.

Martial has also had to deal with falling down the pecking order at Old Trafford, so much so he is now only one of six different options available for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to fulfil the left wing role.

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Rashford’s return from injury should see him awarded playing time on the wing, while Paul Pogba and summer signing Jadon Sancho both also favour the inverted attacking role.

Jesse Lingard is also revitalised competition for the spot while teenage star Anthony Elanga is another attacker who loves to cut inside onto his stronger foot in attack.

Despite the fierce competition, it is credit to Martial he has now outstayed both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho at United and has also remained at the club despite the influx of attacking talent that has come and gone around him.

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Martial might remain a divisive figure, but he is still quite clearly rated by Solskjaer and is a player who the former striker seems to sympathise with a lot given his own dry-spells at the club.

His selection against Everton last time out was one of huge controversy yet it was credit to the charismatic Frenchman that he silenced his critics again and took the unexpected opportunity that came his way.

Rashford’s potential return this weekend will only add to the left wing problem, which remains unsolved, but after a goal in his last match it is surely only right to reward Martial after his crucial contribution.

Contrary to the iconic chant, Martial has been given a chance and during it he did everything he could to ensure he deserves another one.

Football

Man United ready to agree net £34million+ contract for signing, guarantee stability for decades

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Manchester United are serious about signing a world class star in the form of Casemiro and reports suggest that they are ready to agree a mammoth contract to convince the player.

As per today’s version of AS (news image provided below), the Real Madrid superstar is really tempted by the offer made by the Red Devils.

The famous Spanish news source have mentioned that Man Utd have tabled a five year deal that will make the midfielder earn a net salary of more than £34million (40 million euros).

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Casemiro is now in a massive dilemma. United’s offer is so succulent that it guarantees the midfielder and his family’s stability for ‘decades’.

On the other hand, by accepting such a contract, the Brazilian international will have to give up on immediate sporting glory.

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Moving to Old Trafford would mean swapping Champions League for Europa League and it is a hard decision to make for someone who is currently a European Champion and has won the continent’s premier competition five times.

AS claim the situation must be resolved soon. If Casemiro gives the green light to leave, then Real Madrid would demand a fee of at least £68million (80 million euros) to sell him.

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The Samba star is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world but the Los Blancos have already prepared for the future by signing youngsters like Camavinga and Tchouameni, who can effectively play in the DM position.

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Charlie McNeill called up to Manchester United first team training

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Erik ten Hag has called up Charlie McNeill to first team training, with the young striker pictured in training on Wednesday.

The call up is a great way for McNeill to make an impression on the Manchester United manager, amid a tricky start to the season.

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McNeill was an unused substitute in Manchester United’s final pre-season friendly in at Old Trafford against Rayo Vallecano.

This was the closest the young striker has come to the first team, and he was back with the under-21s to start the season

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McNeill was a substitute in United’s most recent under-21 fixture, with Spanish striker Mateo Mejia preferred.

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But it was McNeill who got the nod to join Erik ten Hag’s most recent training session, where he was pictured alongsie Christian Eriksen, James Garner, Scott McTominay and Tyrell Malacia

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Man United facing two-way transfer problems as Erik ten Hag looks to offload six stars

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Manchester United are focused on trying to bring in at least three new signings before deadline day to halt a season already mired in crisis.

But offloading existing players has become just as problematic for United as persuading new names to join Erik ten Hag’s abject side, which currently sits rock-bottom of the Premier League.

United want to get rid of at least six players – Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Axel Tuanzebe, James Garner and Brandon Williams – before deadline day in a fortnight’s time.

But so far there have been no takers for United’s cast-offs, with many on such exorbitant wages or simply not considered good enough for other clubs to decide to take them on.

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Although United managed to sell Andreas Pereira to Fulham for £8.5million and send Alex Telles out on loan to Sevilla for the season, shifting other players to raise funds is proving tricky.

Bailly, who failed to even make the nine-man bench for ten Hag’s first two United games, has been told he can leave, but no club has so far made a firm move for the 28-year-old defender.

West Ham, Marseille and Monaco have all expressed interest in the Ivory Coast international, but with two years left on a deal worth £100,000-a-week, Bailly’s wages are proving a stumbling block.

Those clubs interested in Bailly want to take him on loan, with United continuing to pay a significant chunk of his wages. It is a similar story with most of the players United want to jettison.

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United, in contrast, want a permanent sale, to raise revenue to reinvest in the players ten Hag needs to bolster his squad after beginning his tenure with defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

Bailly’s situation is indicative of the lack of effective leadership at United, which has seen the club hand lucrative, long-term contracts to players who have barely featured in recent seasons.

In the case of Bailly, he signed a contract extension in April 2021, keeping him at United until 2023, with the option for a further year. Yet since signing that new deal, Bailly has made just eight Premier League appearances and has not made a competitive appearance for United since December last year.

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It is a familiar story with Jones, who in February 2019 penned a new deal until 2023, with an option for an extra year, but in that time has made just 21 appearances. There has been little interest in Wan-Bissaka, bought from Crystal Palace for £50m in 2019 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but who has been told by ten Hag to find a new club.

Yet while United are struggling to persuade players to come to Old Trafford, getting them out of the door is proving just as taxing, symbolic of a club in decline and without any coherent strategy.

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