Manchester United have come under fire for paying an enormous sum for 19 year old Striker Anthony Martial. Will he be a hit at Old Trafford?

By Jamie Martin

Anthony Martial was unknown by many prior to the summer transfer deadline, including the captain of his new club, Wayne Rooney.

Football experts have called him a panic buy, a player Manchester United signed just because they needed to make a statement. But, Martial is not simply a panic buy, he is an exciting prospect who Louis Van Gaal has decided to gamble on.

Martial, previously with AS Monaco in the French first division, has reportedly cost United upwards of 36 million pounds, or roughly 55 million dollars and possibly rising to a higher amount with bonuses. This price tag has brought a lot of scrutiny to Ed Woodward, the chief executive of Manchester United, and coach Louis Van Gaal. To pay this amount of money for a 19 year old only recently called up by his national team, is nothing short of a big gamble by United.

The obvious positive side of this transfer is that Van Gaal has finally found a replacement for departing forwards Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Robin Van Persie, two integral parts of United’s title winning side in 2013. It also means that Wayne Rooney, who has struggled to score in the Premier League this season, could return to and thrive in the Number 10 position. It is a gamble, but a necessary one.

Anthony Martial has become the most expensive teenager in professional soccer, surpassing his new teammate Luke Shaw. It is a hefty price tag that comes with a lot of pressure, but Martial appears to be up for the task. The forward stated, “I’m going there for the football side of things. The price is between the two clubs, I don’t see myself under any pressure other than proving myself on the pitch.”

Martial, who started his career with Lyon, recently made his National team debut for France, playing 16 minutes in a friendly against Portugal. This comes at a perfect time for Martial as International experience can only help him as he moves to the Barclays Premier League.

The forward has many impressive qualities and is known for his pace, strength, and maturity at such a young age. Some experts have even compared him to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, although it may be a little early to place him in such a category. Nonetheless, he has continued to progress throughout the years of his young career and Manchester United have gotten a quality player with the potential to be great. The price tag is one of the only negatives and hopefully Martial will prove to be worth the money spent.

The teenager will be handed the Number 9 shirt and is expected to play in the striker’s role, but Van Gaal could try him at a number of different positions. “He (Van Gaal) asked me my preferred position,” said Martial. “I prefer to play in the centre but he told me I could play in a number of positions — it is the coach who decides but whatever position I play, I will do the best I can.”

Manchester United fans will be eager to get their first look at Anthony Martial. He will likely be eligible to face Liverpool in next weekend’s match at Old Trafford.

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Jamie Martin is an aspiring sports journalist who covers the MLB, MLS, and the English Premier League. He is a huge fan of the New York Yankees and Manchester United.