On 1st September 2015, it was announced that Manchester United had signed a 19-year-old French striker from Monaco for £36million, possibly rising to £58million. Of course, the footballing world went into meltdown. The most expensive teenager ever had only scored 11 goals in his 49 appearances for Monaco, yet Louis Van Gaal deemed it appropriate to splash an extortionate amount of cash on a relatively unknown prospect. 11 days later, the young Frenchman came on as a substitute for Juan Mata in the 65th-minute against bitter rivals Liverpool and scored United’s third goal with a beautiful run and finish past Simon Mignolet. Martial’s debut goal was not only voted as United’s goal of the month for September, but was also the catalyst for a red-hot start to his career in a Red Devils shirt.
Eight days later, after being given the nod for his first Premier League start, Martial scored twice against Southampton at St. Mary’s to yet again prove to his doubters that he has the ability to tear-up Premier League defences. After getting his fourth goal in four starts for United against Ipswich Town in the League Cup, Sir Alex Ferguson praised him by stating that he “can do anything”; this should not be taken lightly, Fergie does not throw compliments for players around freely.
After making his first full team debut for the France national team, Martial was given the man-of-the-match award after setting up Olivier Giroud for his goal in the fourth minute with a perfectly-balanced, seemingly-effortless through ball and impressing throughout with a great display of attacking football from the left-wing. Despite spurring some relatively simple chances from inside the box, Martial gave his doubters something to think about, and he has certainly done no harm to his appeal for a regular starting berth both at Manchester United and France, especially with the European Championships coming up next Summer.
Although he showed such promise and maturity in his game, it is important to remember that the boy is only 19-years-old, therefore we cannot expect this form to continue for the whole season. Memphis Depay is in a similar situation to Martial (a young prospect coming from a foreign league with a lot to prove), yet hasn’t made the same impact as the Frenchman after recently admitting that he is struggling with the physicality of the Premier League. Surely Martial cannot keep up with the strenuous nature of the Premier League, and with the European Championships just around the corner, there is real danger that he could burn out, much like Javier Hernandez did at the start of his United career after playing almost non-stop for the first 2 seasons.
However, if he can keep up his impressive goalscoring record and committed attacking football, Martial has a real chance of making the number 9 shirt his own. With Wayne Rooney struggling to find any form in recent weeks, he is the man United are relying on to bring them goals. Although that is a lot of pressure for a young Frenchman a foreign country, he clearly has the support of his manager and after his goal against bitter rivals Liverpool, he has most certainly has won many fans over. United fans will be hoping he can keep up his blistering start to the Premier League and continue it for years to come; there will of course always be doubts about his price tag, but as long as he his scoring and playing well, it is a mere minor detail.