Manchester United

Man Utd flop dubbed ‘next Thierry Henry’ sums up problems Sir Jim Ratcliffe must fix

Man Utd flop dubbed 'next Thierry Henry' sums up problems Sir Jim Ratcliffe must fix

Sir Jim Ratcliffe cannot allow Manchester United to repeat the same old mistakes (Image: PA)

The departure of ‘the next Thierry Henry’ indicates what the INEOS billionaire needs to address as Sir Jim Ratcliffe gets ready to clean house at Manchester United.

Manchester United’s tenure with Anthony Martial started off explosively and ended with hardly a fizz.

In 2015, the Frenchman became the most expensive teenage player in world football when he signed a £36 million contract with the option to add another £21.6 million. He came from Monaco. Despite winning two League Cups, two FA Cups, and one Europa League title, Martial’s tenure at United is indicative of the Red Devils’ stagnation since Sir Alex Ferguson left. There have been enough low points to refute the aforementioned argument, as well as some high points that almost convinced fans there might be something special there.

Monaco placed such a high value on Martial that when they sold him to the Red Devils, they included a Ballon d’Or clause. After his arrival, a number of wingers were brought through the ranks or signed at great expense, but the Frenchman never left Old Trafford. In the January transfer window of 2022, Martial was even loaned to Sevilla, and some reports suggested the La Liga powerhouses were even considering signing him on a permanent basis.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rasmus Hojlund, Romelu Lukaku, Antony, Daniel James, and Jadon Sancho are just a few of the players that United signed to play before the Frenchman. However, the now 28-year-old was confined to United red for nearly a decade before he told supporters he would not be extending his contract to remain at Old Trafford past the summer.

“I write to you today to say goodbye with great emotion,” Martial posted on social media. It’s time for me to start a new chapter in my career after nine amazing years at the club.

“It has been an immense honor for me to wear this shirt and play in front of you, the greatest fans in the world, since I arrived in 2015.” My heart will always belong to Manchester United.”

“In France, we call him [Martial] the next Thierry Henry because he can play left or right, he’s got great ability with the ball, he can take on three, four players with ease, there is no problem,” stated former United striker and two-time Premier League champion Louis Saha in 2015.

Man Utd flop dubbed 'next Thierry Henry' sums up problems Sir Jim Ratcliffe must fix

Martial said his final goodbyes to United fans after the Red Devils’ final home match of the season ( Image: PA)

“The younger generation is fearless at the same time. He is so talented that he can bring home trophies for Manchester United. Though I don’t want to put too much pressure on him, I do think that.”

Martial combined all of the skills Saha listed to score an incredible debut goal in a 3-1 victory against Liverpool at Old Trafford. He had the dexterity to keep his head up, the skill to nip past Liverpool’s outstretched limbs, and the composure to slide the ball past Simon Mignolet.

The obvious natural footballing gifts and elite potential were evident to all. With an eye toward the future, United acquired Martial, but they were never able to give him the chance to succeed. He is the tangible proof that the team was constantly vacillating between two opposing tactics.

He was never the manager’s choice as to where to play him. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred center-forward in the 2019–20 season saw him score 17 goals and dish out six assists, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho preferred him to operate out wide. The following season, however, saw him displaced as striker by Cristiano Ronaldo and drop to fourth choice winger behind Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford, and Mason Greenwood.

Although Martial’s performances seldom ensured a spot in the starting lineup, it’s hard to argue against the original transfer plan that brought him to Old Trafford. He was a player signed to play in the position where he was supposed to be the long-term answer, but he was always getting in the way of other players looking for a quick fix.

Ratcliffe’s transfer strategy needs to take both the long and short terms into consideration; otherwise, signing gifted but undeveloped young players would be pointless. The head of INEOS must make sure that United is not a haven for passivity.

However, they must develop the talent if there is a young player who captures the attention of United scouts in the same manner that Martial surely did and they genuinely think they can be their next international football star. Recall that Kylian Mbappe was formerly referred to as “the next Martial.”

That was probably due to the fact that both of them are young French strikers who kind of just kind of kind of showed up at Monaco. Martial, who is 28, might still have ten years left in football.

However, he was let go like a player who was about to retire and was looking for a last-minute payday in Saudi Arabia or across the pond. From both a playing and financial standpoint, United cannot support the continued presence of the Martials at Old Trafford.

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