Anthony Martial and Manchester United have collaborated, but the Frenchman has struggled to find game time in recent months.
Anthony Martial has joined Sevilla on a half-season loan from Manchester United, and before he left Old Trafford, he received a note from his good friend Bruno Fernandes.
“My friend… our conversation on and off the pitch was always special,” wrote Fernandes to Martial on Instagram. “Wish you all the best for the rest of the season! Go and shine bro.”
Since his 2015 arrival, Martial’s United career has been a roller coaster, with him flourishing under Louis van Gaal, falling down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho, being resurrected by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and then being forgotten by Ralf Rangnick.
One of the major issues managers had with Martial was figuring out where to put him on the field.
Martial played in the number nine position for a time under Solskjaer.
But it wasn’t long before questions about Martial’s goal-scoring abilities surfaced.
Paul Scholes suggested that the Frenchman had deceived United in some way. “These forwards are really talented youngsters,” he told Stadium Astro in 2020. That is something we are all aware of. The issue with United’s strikers is that none of them are true centre-forward.
“Martial almost conned us into thinking he was one at the end of last season because he scored so many goals and was quite good.
“He’s started this season quite poorly again, which makes you think he isn’t. It’s misleading. That’s why I’ve kept saying we need a top-class number nine.”
Fernandes was one United player who agreed with Scholes and thought it was a concern that Martial wasn’t scoring enough goals.
Despite speaking lightheartedly in an interview with Man United’s official website, his statements, combined with Scholes’ comments, effectively led to Solskjaer replacing Martial up top with Edinson Cavani, an out-and-out number nine.
“With Marcus, there is always that kind of joke with him and Anto [Anthony Martial]. I say to them every time I pass to them, they never score,” said Fernandes in 2020.
“They never give me assists. You see again that Anto missed that chance against Leeds. Straight away, I looked at him and started smiling. He understands what I mean by that. I think it’s good, it’s positive.
“Of course, sometimes you have to shout at your teammate and call him to do different things, that’s also a big part of the game, that you’re pushing a bit more for the other teammates.
“Sometimes it’s with a smile, sometimes with other things, but the most important thing is understanding you’re doing your best for the team.”
Martial was re-instated as a winger after Cavani’s arrival, but the summer additions of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo made things even more difficult for him.
On Tuesday, Sevilla announced that Martial has signed a season-long contract with the club.