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Manchester United are in desperate need of a midfield shake-up in the January transfer window, but there are no guarantees that the club have the budget to facilitate it. After spending £120million over the summer, the Red Devils may need to consider cutting their losses on Anthony Martial to fund new arrivals.
Under the management of Louis van Gaal, United paid £36m (plus numerous add-ons) to bring Martial to Old Trafford in 2015 after the Frenchman was tipped to become one of the best players in the world.
However, six years down the line, it is fair to say that the forward has fallen well below expectations.
The 25-year-old has made 265 appearances for United and scored on 79 occasions, but he has quickly fallen out of favour under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and has played just 155 minutes of Premier League football so far this season.
If United’s transfer funds are close to being empty, the club may be tempted to accept their losses on their once-marquee signing and it would be beneficial to all parties that he is moved on.
Solskjaer signed Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane ahead of the new campaign in a bid to create a squad capable of challenging for titles, but those hopes have soon dwindled out.
United have won just four of their last 12 games in all competitions and look like they will be battling it out for Europa League football at the end of the season rather than silverware.
The centre of midfield has been an underlying issue at the Theatre of Dreams for several seasons now, but it has come to light significantly in this campaign.
Paul Pogba is out of the contract at the end of the season and his future is unknown, while Solskjaer has little to no faith in Donny van de Beek.
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Nemanja Matic is past his prime and usual midfield partnership Scott McTominay and Fred have been deemed not good enough by pundits on a weekly basis.
If Solskjaer is still in the dugout and decides that he wants to bring in a top quality midfielder in January, then fringe players such as Martial may have to be sacrificed.
United were linked with West Ham’s Declan Rice, Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and now-Real Madrid starlet Eduardo Camavinga, but no deals materialised in the summer transfer window.
Just as they did with Martial six years ago, Man United have been tipped to raid Monaco for their top talent again this January, with holding midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni reportedly a target.
The 21-year-old has impressed in the Ligue 1 over the last two seasons and is thought to be available for £42m, according to Tuttosport, though United will face tough competition to secure his signature.
In order to fund any potential transfer, Solskjaer may be forced to put the likes of Jesse Lingard, Van de Beek and Matic up for sale, as well as Martial.
Calciomercato have reported that Juventus have a keen interest in signing the latter in January, with the Serie A giants supposedly willing to put a one-and-a-half loan deal on the table with an option to make the move permanent for £25m in 2023.
United are stacked with talent in the final third with Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Sancho, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes and Amad Diallo all viable options.
In which case, it would be no surprise to see Martial on his way out of Manchester in January.
And if the money can be used to bring in a quality holding midfielder, an area in which United have been lacking, then it is certainly a departure that Solskjaer must seriously consider.
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