Sport Soccer

Friday 15 December 2017

Anthony Martial deal adds to Louis van Gaal's Old Trafford spending

Anthony Martial has completed a move to Manchester United
Anthony Martial has completed a move to Manchester United

Louis van Gaal took his total expenditure as Manchester United manager to over a quarter of a billion pounds following the record signing of Anthony Martial from Monaco.

United failed in their last-minute bid to offload goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid on Monday night, but there were no late hiccups regarding Martial.

The Old Trafford club confirmed on Tuesday afternoon they had completed a deal to sign the 19-year-old French striker.

Monaco could receive various add-ons - one of which is for if Martial wins the Ballon d'Or - on top of an initial fee of £36million.

He becomes the 12th signing of Van Gaal's reign. In total, the Dutchman has spent around £261million on new additions since he took over as manager last summer.

Martial, 19, becomes the most expensive teenager in the history of football, eclipsing the £30million fee Van Gaal paid for Luke Shaw last year.

Monaco, who signed Martial from Lyon two years ago, rate the player highly, but the Ligue 1 club admitted United's offer, which could reportedly rise to £58million in total, was simply too good to turn down.

Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev told the club's website: ''We wished to keep him this season but Manchester United made an incredible offer that neither Anthony, nor AS Monaco, could refuse."

The forward, who scored 15 goals in 70 appearances for Monaco, has signed a four-year contract with the option of another year and will wear the number nine shirt for United.

Despite having just one full season of top-flight football under his belt, Martial is not fazed by the challenge of providing the pace and creativity that Van Gaal thinks his first team currently lacks.

''I don't feel the pressure,'' Martial told MUTV.

''I know there is pressure but I'm ready for it.

''I'm very proud. I'm very happy because I worked hard for this and my family is very happy about it.

''I spoke with the coach, Louis van Gaal, and I know that I need to work very hard. It's not easy to speak about myself but I am a very fast player. I hope that everything will go well for me at this club.''

He added: ''I have always wanted to play in the Premier League and to join the biggest club in the world is what every young footballer dreams of. I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and working with Louis van Gaal, who has achieved so much in his career.''

Van Gaal was happy to sign his man, but warned not to expect too much too soon from the Frenchman.

The United manager said: ''Anthony is a naturally talented, young, multi-functional forward with great potential. We have been watching him for a while now and he has developed immensely during his time at AS Monaco.

''I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him to continue his development as a young player. He has all the attributes to become a top football player; however we need to give him time to adjust to his new environment and the rhythm of the Premier League.''

Other than the signing of 17-year-old defender Regan Poole from Newport, United did not complete any other transfers on deadline day.

James Wilson was linked with a loan move away from the club but that failed to materialise.

And the marquee signing United fans were hoping for never came, which means Van Gaal will have to rely on the likes of Martial, Wayne Rooney, Memphis Depay and Juan Mata to provide the goals to aid United's title push.

Contrary to reports, Press Association Sport understands United did not enquire about Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus when they loaned Adnan Januzaj to the Bundeliga club on Monday.

The 2013 Champions League finalists do not have the option to buy Januzaj and it is understood that Van Gaal expects the 20-year-old to return to United next summer and fight for a first-team place.

Javier Hernandez and Anders Lindegaard will have no such opportunity. They left the club for Bayer Leverkusen and West Brom on permanent deals on Monday.

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