People seem to have forgotten about the, in my opinion, excellent summer signings Manchester United made this past summer. With the possible exception of Memphis Depay, all of them have turned out to be brilliant acquisitions and fitted into the club well enough to be considered admirable. It’s true that they haven’t all been on fire, but they have provided performances to make us think that they will be in the near future. How good they’ve been this season has been undermined by the fact that Louis Van Gaal isn’t finding life easy in England, and as such has become the target of every reporter ever since. News predicting Van Gaal’s sacking grabs the headlines when, really, they should be giving some goddamned credit to the scouts at the Old Trafford club for finding some of these players.
Matteo Darmian, for example, was a player that you probably didn’t know about until United made the move for him, but his quality that we’ve seen over a few of his best games in a Red shirt makes us wonder how we didn’t take notice of him before.
The big one, however, is obviously Anthony Martial, who people were judging as a ‘costly flop’ even before he got a chance to prove his worth. When he actually did make his debut, those same people changed their entire mindset about the French attacker and started comparing him to the likes of the legendary Thierry Henry.
No wonder Van Gaal gets so intolerant when in front of the media.
Martial’s form just skyrocketed from there on. He scored a total of 4 goals and provided 1 assist during the month of August, before collecting the honors of being named the Player of the Month. September and October were a bit quiet for the young teenager, but he kept chipping in a few goals here and there. He has scored 5 out of the 25 goals Manchester United have scored in the Premier League so far this campaign, and is definitely, from an onlooker’s point of view, the player that stands out for his sheer desire to attack and get at the opposition defenders. Kind of like Eden Hazard in that respect, though Martial will have to offer a new depth of consistency to get to that level.
Manchester United, I think it is fair to say, are currently relying on a recently turned 20-year old to guide their team into the top four. Martial seems to have taken the challenge on, too, but it’s just that inexperience in the league and the dreaded inconsistency that’s been dragging him. The talent is there, it’s just that sometimes the end product is what’s missing.
It certainly looks like there won’t be any critics come the end of the season if Man United do turn out having to pay €70 million+ for him due to the complex deal that they worked out. I sometimes wonder how many unslept nights the scouts spent deciding whether or not to make this deal and take the gamble on the player. It is certainly paying dividends now to the club’s season, and will hopefully do so for the coming decade. Scouts; perhaps the most anonymous figures in a footballing club, and yet what a profound effect they could have on a club’s fortunes.