Grassroots Coaching

Why would Man Utd pay a reported €49million for teenage striker Anthony Martial from Monaco?

We have taken a close look at the reasons why Man United are willing to pay a reported €49million for very highly rated French youngster Anthony Martial from Monaco.  A player AS Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev called “untransferable”!

Fact File

  • Name – Anthony Martial
  • Date of Birth – 05/12/1995 (age 19)
  • Height  – 5.11, athletic build
  • Club – Monaco – signed him in June 2013 for €6 million from Lyon
  • Games – 49 games – 11 goals. France U21 12 games – 4 goals

Technical File

Position – Roving striker.

He plays across the front. At times as a main focal striker who looks to work on the shoulder of the last defender and run in behind the opposition defence. He can also drop into the hole between the lines and link play up or turn and run at defenders. A lot of the times he likes to pull wide, where there is more space and use his dribbling and running with the ball skills.


He has very good pace, is a good size and has a reasonably strong, athletic build and can run behind defenders for passes into space. Good, quick feet and can manipulate the ball and dribble, with the ability to go off both his right and left foot. He is positive and direct when running with the ball and looks to get behind defences. Has a decent appreciation of space and of other players and makes good decisions about when to pass and link play up and when to dribble or run with the ball. Decent technical passer who shows good ball control and can protect the ball in tight areas.

Can score with both feet and looks a calm composed finisher. When he gets in the box, he shows reasonable movement and uses his pace, sharpness and quick feet well. Is a danger when he faces up defenders and can look to dribble and shift the ball quickly to create shooting and crossing situations.

Former Monaco chief executive Tor-Kristian Karlsen  highlighted  Martial’s  “smart movement, excellent close control and overall technical ability”, while praising his ability to make “everything look simple” on the pitch. Karlsen added that Martial is “surprisingly composed in front of goal for such a young player” and that’s reflected in the fact that he is “very strong in one-versus-one situations”.


Doesn’t seem to have a fixed position, plays all across the front line. Is he going to be the main focal, goal scoring threat striker for United or another general forward player?

At the moment he doesn’t get in the penalty area and between the goals, where goal scorers do their best work enough. Does a lot of his good work outside the penalty area and in wider positions.

Isn’t the best in the air. Isn’t that positive or aggressive and doesn’t have a great heading technique. To be the goal scorer United need, he will have to improve in this area, particularly in the penalty area.

Whilst showing lots of ability and great skills he can drift in and out of the game a bit too much, will need to be more consistent with his involvement in the game. Former Monaco chief executive Karlsen also added  “On the flip side there are issues about consistency, ability to impose himself physically and possibly a certain lack of determination”

That would appear to be backed up by the views of former Chelsea and Monaco and now Leicester City coach Claudio Ranieri who worked with Martial during the teenager’s difficult first season at the club. “He is a great youngster with a great future, but he must change his mind-set,” the Italian told a press conference in 2013. “Sometimes the French mentality is, ‘Today I play well, maybe I’ll play well tomorrow’. No, you must work hard to do your best every day.”

In my view, he also needs to improve his final end product, a cross, positive pass or shot. Too often he gets himself in good positions, but doesn’t deliver well enough or often enough.


A player of undoubted potential, who is still learning his trade. As he develops and gains more experience he will find his real position. Seems to be a big risk and a lot of money for a player who is still very young and unproven, who is a general roving forward and doesn’t have a great goal scoring record.

In time, he might turn out to be a very good player for United, but at the moment I don’t think he will be a main focal, central point for their attack or a player who can add the real cutting, goal scoring edge that they really need to add a finishing end product to all their possession based football.

That said, in 1999, Arsenal signed a young roving attacker from Juventus for £11 million called Thierry Henry, who was previously at Monaco. Henry didn’t boast a great goal scoring record and initially struggled in the Premier league. But when Arsene Wenger changed his position to a central striker, he emerged as Arsenal’s top goal-scorer for almost every season of his tenure there and became Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer with 228 goals in all competitions!

In fact, former Monaco chief executive Karlsen has claimed that Martial “can in some way be reminiscent of a young Thierry Henry”.

There have been lots of players that have previously been compared to to the incomparable Henry. United fans can but but hope with this one!

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