Anthony Martial can follow Jesse Lingard template to save Manchester United career

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This isn’t goodbye, just au revoir.

More than six years on from when Anthony Martial introduced himself to Manchester United in the best way possible, by scoring a stunning goal against bitter foes Liverpool, he is getting ready to leave Old Trafford.

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Many scoffed when United shelled out north of £50million for a teenager but just 20 minutes after being introduced he had secured a 3-1 win and given supporters the ammunition for a chant that would rain down from the terraces time and time again.

“£50million, down the drain, Tony Martial scores again.”

Yet when Martial came off the bench against West Ham on Saturday, in what will likely be his final appearance for at least a number of months, the reception was mixed.

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Fans had been able to understand and stick with the Frenchman as his form went up and down wildly over the seasons, but refusing to play for the club was a stretch too far for some. Martial denied that he elected not to be involved in the recent draw with Aston Villa, as Ralf Rangnick claimed, but the seed of doubt had been planted.

Martial has made his wish to leave the club clear this month, after growing frustrated at a lack of opportunities this season. And that wish has now been granted.

the Manchester Evening News revealed earlier in the month that Sevilla had their initial loan bid for Martial rejected and the club’s CEO, Maurizio Arrivabene, suggested the Spanish side wouldn’t be making another approach as United demands didn’t make it a ‘feasible deal’ for them.

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However, they had a change of heart and a deal to take Martial for the rest of the season on loan and to cover all his wages has been agreed.

This first step out of the door might spell the end for Martial’s United career, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

A change of scenery and some regular playing time can do a player the world of good and Martial may go to Sevilla and rediscover his confidence and form in front of goal.

He will be joining a Sevilla team that is riding high in La Liga and have a real chance of winning a first league title since 1946. They currently sit just four points behind leaders Real Madrid and it would do wonders to Martial’s self-belief if he could be the catalyst for an unlikely triumph. Los Nervionenses are also in the running to win the Europa League once again.

While things haven’t gone to plan for Jesse Lingard this season, Martial can still look to his United teammate for inspiration. He was in a far deeper rut than Martial currently finds himself in, having not played a single minute in the league before joining West Ham on loan in January 2021.

Jesse Lingard impressed while out on loan with West Ham United (Photo by Justin Tallis - Pool/Getty Images)
Jesse Lingard impressed while out on loan with West Ham United (Photo by Justin Tallis – Pool/Getty Images)

Lingard was seen as a laughing stock, who only stopped himself from going a whole season without a goal contribution the year in the 2019/20 league season when he scored in the final minute of the final game of the campaign at Leicester.

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Then at the London Stadium in early 2021, he roared back to form. In just 16 games Lingard scored nine times and laid on five assists, helping West Ham quality for Europe and completely rejuvenating his career. He fought his way back into the England squad and came within a whisker of making the squad for Euro 2020, but still came away with his reputation enhanced higher than it had ever been.

Sadly, that didn’t translate to a real chance when he returned to United despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s promises, even though he did contribute with vital goals and assists when given a few minutes off the bench.

But the template is still there for Martial to follow. If he can go away for a few months and burst back into life with a string of good performances, get back among the goals and contribute to a great achievement then he could come back to Manchester revitalized and in a position to establish himself in the team again.

Unlike with Lingard, who will leave the club for nothing in the summer (unless a permanent exit is agreed in the coming days), Martial is still contracted to United until at least 2024, with the club holding an option to extend it by a further year, so there’s plenty of time for him to turn it around.

That £50million might not necessarily be down the drain just yet.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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