Mikael Silvestre encourages Anthony Martial to ignore Arsenal interest

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United and Arsenal defender Mikael Silvestre has encouraged Anthony Martial to ignore interest from Arsenal and focus on his endeavours at Old Trafford instead.

Reports have claimed that Arsene Wenger is keeping tabs on the 21-year-old, for whom he would offer £40m, if his bid to sign either Kylian Mbappe or Alexandre Lacazette falls through.

Martial endured a testing 2016/17 campaign, precipitating murmurs suggesting he was unhappy at Man United, until he publicly confirmed he was committed to the cause under Jose Mourinho.

And Silvestre, speaking on talkSPORT, has advised the youngster to remain at the Theatre of Dreams next season.

“It’s been difficult for him,” he admitted.

“Arsene [Wenger] could be interested, but United need that type of striker. He should stick around.”

Martial has always exuded an air of unflustered calmness; he comes across as the kind of guy who, during a rapturous earthquake, would just calmly walk out of the building, probably on his phone, and find a safe space to chill.

But like any self-aware human being, the Frenchman requires support from those around him – not just from his fellow teammates and coaching staff, but supporters as well. There is nothing more daunting to a youngster at a big club to garner angry criticism from fans, and that is exactly what would happen to poor Toto if he did indeed move the Emirates.

Their stadium may be a pristine spectacle, but it is also one of the more toxic environments in competitive sport. There is a reason no youngsters manage to hold down a regular first team place under Wenger: the mood generated by their supporters, somewhat paradoxically, is not supportive, and instead painfully scrutinising.

Is that really something Martial, at the age of just 21 and still very much developing, would want?

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