Manchester United endured another faltering campaign under Louis Van Gaal last season as they narrowly missed out on Champions League football. But in the midst of a relatively dim season at Old Trafford, a bright spark emerged in the form of France international Anthony Martial.
Prior to the Frenchman’s arrival at Manchester United, Martial was somewhat of a relatively unknown player despite being part of Ligue 1 outfit AS Monaco.
The transfer taking the France international to Manchester United commanded a hefty fee, a sum which raised quite a few eyebrows among football lovers around the world.
However, despite deeming Martial an expensive signing, United fans were prepared to give him a chance to prove his worth which the starlet duly did as he bagged 17 goals last season whilst being played out of his natural position on a number of occasions which normally would be detrimental to the overall performance of any player.
Martial is undoubtedly one of the fastest players in the Premier League at the moment, and that appears to be helping his resolve in terms of how he takes on defenders. He’s also an excellent dribbler and is the kind of a player who can create something out of nothing, in a similar vein as Robin Van Persie before he faced a massive technical decline.
Ibrahimovic enjoyed a phenomenal season with PSG last term as he bagged 38 League goals in the Ligue 1. The fact that he was available on a free transfer following the expiration of his PSG contract was too good to resist.
Signing a player of Zlatan’s immense quality on a free transfer is more or less the definition of a good piece of business.
What can Ibra do that Martial Can’t?
Back when Ibrahimovic was at Ajax, he was more of a dribbler than an out-and-out striker, but now his aging legs have turned him into somewhat of a deadly instinctive center-forward.
Zlatan may not be among the quickest players on the pitch, but he has an amazing ability to shoot from range as well as to come up with the spectacular even in dire moments.
Zlatan’s major shortcoming seems to be the fact that he’s over-reliant on the services of his teammates, while Martial, on the other hand, can create his own chances.
Martial was a bit-part player in France’s Euro 2016 campaign, but he’ll be keen on staking his claim in the United first team once the new season kicks off.
Ibrahimovic may struggle to make his mark in the English top flight due to the League’s high intensity. The Premier League features a lot of fast-paced football which makes it difficult for a host of players with no prior experience in England to adapt to the general style of play.
Contrarily, Martial already has some experience playing in the English top flight, he just needs more game time to show the stuff he’s made of.
The French starlet would’ve bagged more than his overall tally of 17 goals last season if he was deployed as a striker more often, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Jose Mourinho has in store for Martial once the new season kicks-off.
Who should get the nod?
Mourinho is expected to make use of a 4-2-3-1 system, which means that there’s only space for one striker in the team. On that note, who should be the mainstay in the number 9 role?
Marcus Rashford seems to be out of the equation, but he may be utilized as somewhat of a super-sub due to his goal-poaching ability.
The competition up front seems to be between Martial and Ibrahimovic, but from the looks of things, Martial deserves to start up front as he’s got the substantial experience and as well as the pace needed to succeed in the Premier League.
Ibrahimovic also has all the qualities of a world-class striker hence the special one will have to make his decision based on the performance factor. If Ibra doesn’t kick things off in a deft manner, then Martial will probably be thrown into the fray to lead the line.
But as things stand, Ibrahimovic looks set to be United’s mainstay up front while Martial features on the left flank.