Barcelona is considering making a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial as he struggles to get a start at Old Trafford, according to reports.
Martial has made significant progress under Jose Mourinho since last season, scoring five goals in nine appearances already this campaign. The statistics are even more impressive given that the 21-year-old has only started four games—and there lies what Barcelona sees as an opportunity.
But despite his quality, Martial has struggled to get into Mourinho’s starting line-up. Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo says, believes he is capable of playing at the Camp Nou and will look to take advantage of Mourinho’s reluctance to start him.
The French forward moved to United in the summer of 2015, then under Louis van Gaal, and he impressed at the age of 18, scoring 17 goals in his first campaign in English football.There was friction between the player and his manager last season as Mourinho spoke publicly about Martial’s need to improve: “Do I think Anthony is player with great potential? Yes. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes. But he needs to give me things that I like,” Mourinho said in April.
“We are together for almost 10 months or something like that. The same way I know the players much better now, the players should also know me much better now.”
Martial, as Mourinho said, has clear potential to thrive in England and Europe’s top leagues, which is a belief shared by his fellow countryman, Thierry Henry.
Henry, the former Arsenal striker who moved to Barcelona, believes Martial could progress to a similar level to him in the Premier League, which saw Henry named PFA Player of the Year on two occasions.
“Anthony Martial is a far better player than I was at that age,” Henry said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. “He can become a world-class player.”
Henry, now a pundit for Sky Sports, moved from north London to Catalonia in 2007, where he won two La Liga titles and the Champions League in three years at the club.
Barcelona’s blockbuster summer-signing Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund for £135 million (about $177 million)—after selling Neymar to PSG for £199 million—is injured and expected to be out until the new year.
Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, September 20. Richard Heathcote/Getty