Newcastle have emerged as the favourites to sign Manchester United outcast Anthony Martial, with the club’s new owner ready to spend big to seal the signing.

According to El Nacional, Newcastle United are now the frontrunners in the race to land wantaway Manchester United starlet Anthony Martial pipping fellow suitors Barcelona.

The 26-year-old has struggled for game time this season, having featured in just over 350 minutes of football across all competitions and making only two Premier League starts. Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival at the club in the summer, the Frenchman fell down the pecking order under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

The report states that the German coach does not envisage Martial in his long-term plans at Old Trafford and is willing to offload the French star for a cut-price fee in January to generate funds for further reinforcements to initiate his rebuilding project. The Mancunian giants forked out a hefty €60 million to secure the talented attacker from AS Monaco in 2015 but are prepared to cut their losses and could accept half or even less.

Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, recently confirmed that his client is vying for a new challenge. He said, “Anthony wishes to leave the club in January. He just needs to play, he doesn’t want to stay in January and I will speak to the club soon.”

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And it appears that the development has not gone unnoticed with the likes of Arsenal, Barcelona, Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain all in the frame to secure the Frenchman’s services. However, the report from the Catalan outlet suggests that Barcelona could end their interest in the French international after head coach Xavi expressed reservations about the transfer.

This comes as a surprise since many would have thought it could be a perfect match for the Blaugrana, who have struggled to find that creative spark to break down their oppositions despite all their possession. Although the Spanish coach does rate the talents of the former Olympique Lyon ace, he is unclear of what the Frenchman would add to his current roster and deems the player’s traits similar to that of Memphis Depay.

The report claims that Martial was ready to reject the rest of the interested parties to switch to Camp Nou, but is now assessing other options. This comes as music to the ears of cash-rich Newcastle, who are ready to pay over the top to seal the statement signing.

While Newcastle’s defensive problems are well-documented, with just 17 goals from 16 games, their attack is not delivering either. With Joelinton and Allan Saint-Maximin goal-shy, the Magpies are heavily reliant on talismanic striker Callum Wilson to deliver the much-needed goals but needs someone to share the workload with, especially considering his poor injury history.

Signing someone of Martial’s pedigree would be a sensational swoop for the Toon and could be the fix to their goalscoring woes, given that he boasts a record of 79 goals from 197 starts for the Red Devils. Only time will tell whether the Magpies could manage to get the deal over the line for the 26-year-old, or he ends up sealing a move elsewhere. For now, though, they seem to be ahead of Barcelona in the race.

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