Friday 25 May 2018

Jose Mourinho willing to let Anthony Martial go to Chelsea - but wants a former player in return

Anthony Martial. Photo: Nigel French/Empics/PA
Anthony Martial. Photo: Nigel French/Empics/PA

Miguel Delaney

Jose Mourinho would be open to letting Manchester United’s Anthony Martial go to Chelsea, but on the provision that Willian comes in the other direction.

The 22-year-old’s Old Trafford future looks increasingly uncertain, with Mourinho understood to have run out of patience at a perceived lack of development and disconnect in terms of tactical orders.

Willian has always been the opposite in that regard, with Mourinho seeing the Brazilian as virtually his ideal attacking wide player. That has raised the prospect of a potential deal that would see Martial go to Stamford Bridge, for Willian plus money, and it is understood that has already been mooted by intermediaries.

Martial had been seen by United as one of the stars of the future, and the club hierarchy’s stance up to now has been that they would rather keep him, amid a lot of interest from abroad - particularly Juventus - and Tottenham Hotspur.

Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is however completely willing to back any decision that Mourinho makes, and fully trusts his judgement on team affairs and playing personnel. The Portuguese is increasingly minded to let Martial go, and it would be even more palatable to the United boss if it meant a trusted lieutenant like Willian - who he signed for Chelsea in 2013 - coming the other way.

United would however want money as well as Willian, but that may appeal to Chelsea, who are intent on revitalising and freshening up what now looks a somewhat ageing squad. Martial would almost be ideal for them in that regard. Mourinho again made his exasperation with Martial - and Marcus Rashford - clear after the 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion. The two younger strikers started because of injuries to Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, in what was an ultimately flat performance.

"For 10 months I get asked 'why always Lukaku? Why always Lukaku? Why always this player?'" Mourinho said, in reference to why Martial and Rashford don’t more regularly play. "'That guy doesn't have a chance to start, the other one is on the bench'. You know why now."

Rashford’s situation is not said to be anywhere as uncertain as Martial’s, although the young England international has often struggled with Mourinho’s hardline approach.

Independent News Service

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