Anthony Martial is being used as a “chess piece” in a raging war between Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and the club’s Chief Executive Ed Woodward.
The attacker was not part of Man United’s squad in a shambolic and dismal 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night at Old Trafford, not even making the substitutes bench.
French outlet RMC reports (via Get French Football News) that Martial is being used to make a point by both Mourinho and Woodward as the two most influential men at United lock horns in a dispute which could come to define the next few years for the Reds.
Martial allegedly still wants to move away from Manchester after two average seasons in which he’s frequently fallen out of favour with Mourinho.
Woodward, though, believes Martial can be one of the world’s best players in future and wants the Frenchmen to stay. He has supposedly rejected offers and approaches all summers, with two coming from Atletico Madrid and AC Milan.
Mourinho, though, wishes to sell Martial to make funds available to strengthen his squad elsewhere. RMC suggest that the Portuguese manager was responsible for efforts to try and sell Martial to Chelsea this summer in a swap deal that would have seen Willian go the other way.
The same is true for a potential swap deal with Monday night’s victors, Spurs, as Mourinho attempted to bring in centre-back Toby Alderweireld.
Simultaneously, Mourinho was encouraging Woodward to sell Martial so he could have the money to purchase a centre-back. United have struggled significantly with defensive issues in the opening three games of the season, their worst start to a campaign since 1992.
But instead, Woodward has been keen to tie Martial down to a long-term contract, with a five-year extension on the table.
RMC indicates that Mourinho leaving out Martial for the Spurs game was a message to Ed Woodward.
It’s another interesting, developing story at United as the Reds’ start to the season has been littered with defeats, controversy and in-fighting. Woodward is the likely winner, with the Chief Executive having the full backing of the club’s owners, the Glazer family.