Exclusive insight into Anthony Martial and why he can follow in Thierry Henry’s footsteps

by Leo Nieboer

Anthony Martial, a 19-year-old French prodigy from Monaco with just 62 career appearances under his name, has become the world’s most expensive teenager after joining Manchester United for £36m.

He’s not yet a household name in France and Martial is largely unheard of within the realms of the English game. With that in mind, The Peoples Person spoke to French Football expert Robin Bairner from Goal.com to try and gain some insight into United’s new signing.

Was it a surprise to see Martial linked with United? 

Yes. It had been expected he would stay at Monaco and it’s clearly because United went so big with their bid that the offer has been accepted.

If you had to liken Martial to one other player (past or present), who would it be? 

Thierry Henry.


It’s impossible to get away from the comparison. Both play in similar positions, with a similar role, and their backgrounds are virtually identical. Martial has the same kind of pace and technical abilities as Titi. Both are of Guadeloupe descent and they even played for the same side in Paris as youths.

Is Martial highly rated in France? 

Martial is very highly rated in France and he has been for a number of years now.  He came through the Lyon youth system and even though he had only played a couple of first-team matches for them when he left for Monaco, it was surprising to see him go for a fee as low as €6m. Didier Deschamps called him to the France squad for the first time this week and everyone believes it’s merited.

We saw two Ligue 1 imports in Ayew and Gomis condemn Man United to defeat last Sunday. Payet also looks like another example of a Ligue 1 signing settling in nicely. Why is there such an influx of players who move from France to England? 

Quite simply it’s the money first and foremost. Players can earn sums far in excess of anything they can at home. Even in the UK, where players are heavily taxed, it’s still a more generous system than in France. Of course, the league is also of a higher standard but I think that’s a secondary consideration.

United signed a Monaco striker at the end of last year’s transfer window, which didn’t turn out too well. Do you think Martial’s move will end up going in a similar direction? 

No – Martial’s very different from Falcao.

I said at the time that was a bad move due to his recent injury problems and it turned out that way. He probably needed a bit more game time and was signed as a player to bring instant success, which I think was foolish.

Of course, much is expected of Martial too but at 19 he will be given a bit more time to prove himself, and I’ve every confidence he’ll be able to do that.

Describe Martial’s playing style in three words. 

Quick, athletic, goalscorer.

We want to extend our thanks to Robin Bairner for having a chat with us.

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