Ligue 1 is brimming with top talents at the moment, and it is not surprising to see clubs ready to pounce and poach these players. Latest to be linked with a move away from France is Monaco’s young forward Anthony Martial.
Chelsea have been linked with the 19-year-old in the last few days and Barcelona have supposedly also shown interest in prizing the youngster. English Premier League fans who have absolutely no idea of the French league will perhaps have heard of or googled Martial when he was a target for Tottenham.
The teenager has played at every level from Under-16 to Under-21 for France.
Martial joined Monaco from Lyon two years back for €5 million. The club knew they had signed an unproven player and it could be a gamble. More than that, people believed that a genuine talent’s growth could be stunted as the then 17-year-old would not get any game time at the Stade Louis II, where Radamel Falcao was going to rule.
However, the move has clearly shown dividends now and Monaco fans know the hype was justified.
At first, the youngster had to take a bit of a backseat with Dimitar Berbatov and Radamel Falcao in the club. But with a change in reigns and the focus shifting from money to developing youth and a philosophy at Monaco under Jardim, Martial became an important player for the side last season.
The aforementioned duo’s departure has cleared the way for Martial to become Monaco’s leading man. Still only 19, the striker is in the fourth year of senior football. Yes, you read it correctly.
He was a regular in the first-team last season, starting 19 games and coming on as a substitute in another 18 in the league. He scored 12 goals in all competitions for the club, along with grabbing four assists. He already has a goal and two assists in four matches so far this season.
Versatile and room for improvement
Martial is a striker and his future definitely lies in leading the attack but he is more than capable of operating on the wings. The fact that he can do that, like Lacazette or former Monaco striker Thierry Henry – someone with whom he has plenty in common including the fact that both of them come from the same Paris suburb – makes him an asset to have in the squad as his multi-functional role can help out most teams. He possesses blistering pace and close ball skills
He is 19, but one can easily see he possesses an array of ideas and wants to try different things in the game. Of course, given his age and relative inexperience, he cannot always execute these ideas; but what is important at this stage is that he tries and subsequently improves. Rest assured, he does that.
He also has to improve his all-round game, notably contribute a little defensively and improve his first touches. But he is 19 and is a player with immense natural talent. With the right coaching, he is going to be an absolute sensation in the future.
Which is why he shouldn’t go to Chelsea. Just yet.
Why staying at Monaco is the best for his career
The Blues are infamous for their loan policy which can get players stuck in the grinder (read: Gael Kakuta, a player who can epitomize this and do it well. There have been others, but none can explain the ill-effects of this policy as well as now Sevilla player Kakuta).
Martial should ideally stay with Monaco for another season, if not a couple, as he is assured of playing time with the club and can go on and take his game to the next level under Jardim.
The arrival of El Shaarawy will create some (frankly) much needed competition for the player but the 19-year-old is still expected to be Monaco’s main man this season, a challenge he should welcome and hope he can deliver the expectations dawned upon him.
He certainly possesses enough talent to do so.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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