Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
Manchester United attacker Anthony Martial is reportedly set for talks with manager Jose Mourinho to receive assurances over his future at the club. Meanwhile, Red Devils target Arturo Vidal has played down his chances of leaving Bayern Munich.
The Sun (h/t Daily Mirror) reported Alexis Sanchez’s arrival at Old Trafford has caused some confusion over Martial’s role in the team, but Mourinho appears ready to place his faith in the France international.
Martial enjoyed a productive first half of the season and has looked impressive on the left wing, although Sanchez has recently been deployed in that role since arriving from Arsenal during the January transfer window.
United lost their second successive away game when they succumbed 1-0 at Newcastle United on Sunday, and BT Sport commentator Ian Darke noticed a common theme that involved Martial’s transition to a less familiar role:
Ian Darke @IanDarke
Mourinho tweaked Man U attack to accommodate Sanchez on left. Martial moved to less effective right. Lost 2 out of 3 since.
It’s said Mourinho “wants to ease the 22-year-old’s concerns,” and a new contract could be in the offing, with Martial’s current terms set to expire at the end of next season.
Jesse Lingard has been in good form for portions of this campaign, and a BBC 5 live 606 caller recently commented on the dilemma of having three candidates such as him, Martial and Sanchez:
BBC 606 @bbc606
“Martial, Lingard or Sanchez – one of them has got to be dropped.” #MUFC fan Aaron thinks his side have to play a 3 man midfield to succeed. Do you agree? https://t.co/5SV6G5QooT
One of the major risks in recruiting Sanchez, despite his talent, was that it could unsettle the existing squad, and Martial looks to be the regular starter who has suffered most in the fallout of his move from Arsenal.
And it appears as though that stutter has started to be reflected in the play of Martial, who was in wasteful form against the Magpies on Sunday, per Squawka:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Anthony Martial missed more chances against Newcastle (4) than any other player on the pitch. Not at the races. https://t.co/BuWLRJqtaO
Elsewhere, Vidal has moved to distance himself from a summer transfer and reiterated his loyalty to the Bayern cause. The Mirror provided quotes he gave to German broadcaster Sport1: “I’m not thinking about a transfer. I feel very comfortable here. Of course I would like to extend my contract. That’s an option. My kids are very happy here, too.”
Like Martial, Vidal has a little less than 18 months remaining on his Bayern contract, and WhoScored.com recently pointed to evidence as to why Die Roten may be eager to refresh his terms at the club:
Arturo Vidal: Completed 14 tackles against Schalke on Saturday, the most in a match in Europe’s top five leagues this season Full match statistics: https://t.co/tb6FUAIOXo https://t.co/IpgFnvWkGZ
United were one of the contenders being linked with a move for the Chile international, but en route to a third successive Bundesliga title with Bayern, it appears he’s content to remain at the Allianz Arena.