Saturday 25 May 2019

Man United pay Monaco additional £8.7m for Anthony Martial after equaliser against Newcastle triggered 25-goal clause

Manchester United's Anthony Martial
Manchester United's Anthony Martial

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho may consider it a small price to pay in the circumstances but Anthony Martial’s crucial goal against Newcastle came at a cost of more than £8.7 million to Manchester United.

The France forward’s 76th minute equaliser at Old Trafford on Saturday was his 25th Premier League goal for the club and triggered a clause in his contract entitling his former club Monaco to a €10 million (£8.73 million) windfall.

United paid Monaco an initial £36 million when they signed Martial in September 2015 but the cost of the transfer has now risen to what is expected to be a final fee of £44.73 million.

The French club had a longer wait than they might have expected for the additional sum, though, since Martial had been stuck on 24 league goals for more than eight months. His previous league goal was against Burnley on January 20.

Under the terms of the original deal, Monaco were due two further payments of £8.73 million each if Martial played 25 games for France and was nominated for the Ballon d’Or before the end of the current 2018/19 season. Yet with Martial not among the Ballon d’Or nominees announced this week and out of favour for France, for whom he has played 18 times, seven games short of the stipulated target, neither clause will be met.

United are also no longer at risk of having to pay a sell-on fee to Monaco should they decide to part company with Martial down the line since it is understood that those clauses lapsed at the end of last season.

Monaco would have been entitled to 50 per cent of any profit on Martial had the 22-year-old been sold for a fee between a series of agreed varying sums.

After Martial drew United level against Newcastle, Alexis Sanchez’s 90th winner secured a dramatic 3-2 victory and alleviated some pressure on the embattled Mourinho, whose side face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday week.

Mourinho wanted to offload Martial in the summer but the move was vetoed by United’s hierarchy, who remain hopeful the Frenchman will sign a new five-year contract. Martial was fined two weeks’ wages by Mourinho after leaving United’s pre-season tour of the US without permission to attend the birth of his baby son, Swan.

Mourinho’s relationship with another of United’s French contingent, Paul Pogba, has also become severely strained this season. Pogba was stripped of captaincy duties after informing Mourinho he wanted to leave. But, speaking about the prospect of one day captaining France ahead of his country’s friendly against Iceland on Thursday, the midfielder said he did not need the armband to lead.

“I have never played for France to be captain,” Pogba told L’Equipe. “Being here is already something big for me. You do not have to be a captain to speak. A leader is not someone who has the armband on. As a leader you can talk on the pitch, but I have seen leaders who do not necessarily speak.

“For example, [Andrea] Pirlo is a leader, but he will not speak a lot in the dressing room. He will be there on the pitch and show you the way. He is a true leader. The armband has never been a goal.”

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