Football

Anthony Martial - who is the most expensive teenager in football history?

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Manchester United have, under Louis van Gaal, gained somewhat of a reputation for splashing the cash when it comes to transfers.

Last summer they broke the British transfer record with a £59.7 million acquisition of Angel di Maria, and now they have made 19-year-old Anthony Martial the most expensive teenager in the history of the game.

So, who is he? And what will he bring to the already star-studded United team?

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Martial began his career in the seventh tier of the French football league, at a club called CO Les Ulis. At the age of 14, in 2009, he was spotted by scouts working for Lyon and joined their youth team the same year.

The player captured the attention of the country's scouting network when playing his second full season for the Lyon under-17 team, scoring 32 goals in just 21 games. This lead to his France under-17 call-up at the time.

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Martial's professional debut came for Lyon in the Europa League, playing just over 10 minutes against Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona on 6 December 2012.

His first season as a professional was restricted to such appearances, coming off the bench for the final 10-15 minutes. However, it was like this that he scored his first professional goal, in a 3-1 loss against Ajaccio.

In June 2013, Martial was bought by AS Monaco for £3.7 million on a three-year contract, which was eventually extended. Despite an injury-plagued first season, he scored 12 goals in 46 games in his second season and this resulted in his move to Manchester United.

So what does he bring to the table? Martial is known for his electric pace, power and finishing, likened to national legend Thierry Henry by many.

He looks incredibly composed on the ball for such youth, and his confidence is on show for anyone watching. However, striking similarities can be drawn to Memphis Depay; both players often attempt too much when in possession and can be frustrating to watch when they ignore the simple pass to try the spectacular.

Similar to Henry, Martial plays primarily as a centre forward, although often drifts to the left wing to find space, and power finishes into the bottom corners of the net.

For now, his unfinished nature can be attributed to youthful naiveté, although with a £36 million price-tag, he will need to deliver end-product faster than most.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Manchester United

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