Anthony Martial had a less than ideal 2020/21 season. He scored seven goals and provided five assists, a disappointment after scoring 23 goals and six assists the previous season.

How good is martial really? Well, over the course of his United career, he has shown that he is not good enough to consistently score more than 20 goals per season. His 2019/20 campaign has been an isolated incident so far.

But the Frenchman is better than he showed last season, his worst goals since joining the club.

The true level of Martial’s ability lies somewhere in between. He’s not the productive striker United ultimately needs – but he’s good enough to be useful.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images)

Exit rumors never made sense this summer

The media really put the knife in Martial this summer. From his name in fancy swap business discussions for Harry Kane [The Times], to more recent connections with Inter Milan through The Sun, which were repeated by numerous outlets.

At the weekend Martial celebrated his United comeback after suffering a knee injury in March, the transfer rumors are likely to have been unsettled. Even if they didn’t make much sense.

The mirror turned the knife on a report claiming United was ready to accept the truth about Martial and sell him. This was the 2015 newspaper claiming United panicked when they signed the striker in the first place and inspired a mocking chant with the back saying the money was going down the drain. It’s almost like the press has an intention to fail Martial.

United appeared to brief the press yesterday to put an end to the baseless rumors. The BBC and The Telegraph both reported that Manchester United have no plans to sell Martial this summer.

It always seemed obvious. Martial’s inconsistent record has sparked criticism and that comes with the territory as a Manchester United striker. But just in the penultimate season he scored 17 Premier League goals from the open game and would have won the golden shoe if he had been on penalties.

In the past six years, we’ve probably seen enough to know that when it comes to style or production, Martial isn’t going to be the Ruud van Nistelrooy-type poacher United. It can still be very useful.

Martial’s role 2021/22

This season, United aren’t asking Martial to be the number one striker, even if he could be pushed into that role in the first week.

Edinson Cavani will be United’s first choice when fully fit. He is a striker of proven quality and scored a total of 17 goals last season, which he finished well.

Martial is asked to share the reserve load with Mason Greenwood behind Cavani. United can find a use for him here and also see if he can meet the challenge of regaining his 2019/20 form.

Cavani will be leaving next summer when his contract expires. If Martial doesn’t make an appearance this season, he could leave too. But he deserves to show his commitment this season.

The sale of Martial that summer never made sense as United were only left with Cavani and Greenwood. There is no quick fix in the transfer market at this late stage as a replacement or United’s appetite for finding one.

(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA / Getty Images)

United will sign a new striker next season, ideally Erling Haaland. A well-known striker will be added whether or not Martial is performing. But if he doesn’t play well this season, United will have to sign two next summer.

The inclusion of Jadon Sancho should help him. Martial is strong at dribbling in confined spaces, like Sancho, and the pair should play together. The winger’s addition could be the spark Martial needs to improve.

reaction

Martial may have frustrated his fans last season, but he still has his supporters. Here’s a look at how United fans have reacted positively to reports that the Frenchman will stay …

@AnthonyMartial proves they’re wrong. You are competent and one of the best. Old Trafford is your home

– PAT (@P_AT_UG) August 10, 2021

Anthony Martial, as a specialist in close possession, is very underestimated, his link-up game with Sancho will be highlighted this year

-. (@ sanket72622) August 10, 2021

Martial and Dalot then stay
Both split, but as long as they are united, they keep my support

– Roshan (@JstAnotherDevil) August 10, 2021

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