Paris Saint-Germain have informed Manchester United that they want Anthony Martial to be included as a part of the deal to take Marco Verratti to Old Trafford.
According to a report in the Mirror, the Red Devils have continued to pursue the Italian international despite being linked with a move for Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic. The Blues are demanding £50 million for the big Serbian and United aren’t willing to match that valuation.
After Barcelona reportedly stopped pursuing Verratti, United reignited their interest in the 24-year-old last week and got in touch with the former Ligue 1 champions, who have insisted that they want Anthony Martial to be included as a part of any potential deal involving their midfield star.
United though, do not want to let go of Martial and are still hopeful of reaching some sort of an agreement for Verratti. The former Pescara midfielder is also reported to be open to a move to Old Trafford this summer, but Barcelona remains his first choice.
Manchester United Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has spoken to Mino Raiola, who was recently appointed as Verratti’s new agent. The 49-year-old has built up a good relationship with United, helping them acquire the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimovic, and most recently Romelu Lukaku.
Mourinho, who has reportedly been a long term admirer of Verratti, is in the hunt for a top class midfielder who can give him options in the middle of the park. His current choices include an ageing Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.
Needless to say, Verratti, who has grown into of the world’s top midfielders since his move from Pescara in 2012, and would be a significant upgrade on the first two. The £60 million fee he is expected to cost isn’t too bad either, given his age, experience and the inflated state of the market.
United’s unwillingness to include Anthony Martial however, comes as no surprise. The Red Devils invested heavily in bringing the Frenchman from AS Monaco in a £36 million deal that could potentially rise to £57 million and they would no doubt want a return on their investment.
He had an extremely promising first season at the club, in which he finished as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals and 9 assists across all competitions. He couldn’t build on that stellar first season under Mourinho and was forced out wide to the wings due to the arrival of Ibrahimovic.
As a result, he could only muster 8 goals and 8 assists and has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer, with Serie A giants Inter Milan and Bundesliga outfit Wolfsburg keen on taking the youngster on board for the upcoming season.
The Red Devils are in for a long season ahead where they will challenge for four different titles and injuries are bound to hit at some point. Martial is certainly capable of leading the line for United and his versatility will allow Mourinho to use him anywhere in attack.
Martial, who has 2 seasons left on his current contract, will certainly be willing to put up a fight for a place in the first team, given that the World Cup is less than a year away and he will have to feature regularly if he wants Didier Deschamps to take notice.
Despite the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford’s rise to prominence, United should think long and hard about letting him leave. His talent is undoubted and if he hits top form in the upcoming campaign, the previous season will only be remembered as a one-off.