Many wondered what Manchester United was thinking when it paid Monaco £36 million ($55.5 million) for the teenage forward.
Martial scored twice in United’s 3-2 away victory at Southampton on Sunday, coming back from a goal down. Though Mata was in an offside position to begin with, it was excellent to see Anthony Martial show so much poise before finishing. This time the Saints man underhit a backpass towards Maarten Stekelenburg, which the striker pounced on before coolly slotting home.
In the Premier League, United welcome bottom-club Sunderland on Saturday the 26th (3pm UK time), after which they face German side Wolfsburg on Wednesday the 30th for the second game of the Champions’ League group stage (7:45pm UK time).
Over the weekend, one such game was the one between Anderlecht and Monaco, with a total of five Premier League teams, including scouts from Manchester United said to be present in Belgium for the game.
United captain Rooney was forced to miss the Liverpool win with a hamstring injury suffered in training after he returned from the worldwide break.
United manager Louis van Gaal, who had come under scrutiny for sanctioning the deadline-day deal this month and had even been accused of “panic-buying”, was suitably impressed if typically understated. While left-back Patrick van Aanholt’s place is under threat after the Dutchman’s unconvincing start to the season.
Van Gaal said the players were “quiet” when he addressed them after the win. Juan Mata is expected to start on the right wing on paper but expect him to play a more central role rather than that of a traditional wide player.
Martial is also far from the complete package – he joined United with limited professional experience from his days at Monaco; making 49 Ligue 1 appearances and scoring 11 goals.
However, the early signs are very positive.