Anthony Martial’s transfer fee of £36 million–which could potentially rise to £58 million, according to AS Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev–has put an enormous amount of pressure on the France Under-21 international.
Martial, 19, joined Manchester United from Monaco earlier this week, and could make his English Premier League debut against Liverpool at Old Trafford on September 12.
According to Paul Merson, the most expensive teenager in the history of world football needs a fast start to be a hit at the Theatre of Dreams.
“That’s a lot of money for someone who has been playing in Monaco in front of 5,000-6,000 people every week, on top of a car park,” said Merson.
“Then you have to go and play in front of 70,000 people as the most expensive teenager of all time. That’s a lot of pressure on the lad.
“When you go and play for Manchester United you have to start well. If like, off the top of my head, Anderson, you have a couple of bad games, you never get it back. This lad has to start very, very well.
“I feel for him. It should have been an undisclosed fee. It’s put too much pressure on the lad, and I’ll be very interested to see how he handles it.”
Many football pundits have already criticised United for splashing the cash on an unproven goalscorer, and perhaps rightly so.
Should a player who left Olympique Lyonnais for Monaco in a deal worth €5 million in 2013 command a transfer fee of £36 million after netting 11 goals in 49 Ligue 1 appearances over the past two seasons?
Perhaps. But why was Arsenal never linked with a move for such a promising French starlet who has been likened to Thierry Henry? That remains to be determined.
“Arsene Wenger knows that scene (Ligue 1) very well. I think he knows that scene better than anybody in world football. And he never went for him,” added Merson.
“I don’t know if he didn’t go for him because he thought it was a lot of money but I’d be interested to see what Arsene Wenger thought of this lad.
“His knowledge of French football is second to none and he would know Martial inside out.”
Nevertheless, United were in desperate need of a pacy forward and they seem to have gotten their man.
Although the price may not be right, the £36 million fee all but guarantees Martial a place in Louis van Gaal’s starting XI, with captain Wayne Rooney likely to drop into the No. 10 position. That said, whether the 19-year-old becomes a hit at Old Trafford is still very much up in the air. And only time will tell.