Anthony Martial linked with Barcelona ahead of potential Man Utd exit

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Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has permission to leave the club in January after being pushed down the pecking order this season and has been linked with a move to Barcelona.

Martial has only started one game so far in 2021/22, following on from a poor 2020/21 campaign. He is already second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo for the ‘number nine’ role and will fall further behind when Edinson Cavani soon returns to full fitness.

Mason Greenwood was leading the line for United at the start of the season. What’s more, the club are expected to target a long-term striker, which many fans hope will be Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland, in the market next summer.

United did rebuff late interest from Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window closed in August, but Martial’s lack of meaningful playing time since then – just seven minutes across three games in the Premier League and Champions League – highlights his fringe role in the squad and may have changed the club’s stance on the matter already.

Eurosport notes that Martial’s representatives have been told they can try to find him a new club and he would allowed to leave in January for a ‘fair offer’ – potentially around £40m.

The Frenchman is ‘open’ to staying in the Premier League, although he would also explore opportunities outside England. He had been ‘desperate’ to stay at Old Trafford but is not interested in being a fringe player.

Aside from PSG, Atletico Madrid are believed to have shown interest prior to securing the signature of Antoine Griezmann at the end of last month. Barcelona, who have badly struggled with injuries to their strikers and attackers in the weeks of this season, could emerge as a destination.

However, the biggest issue for Martial could be financial. Resources at Camp Nou are already stretched to the limit and it is said the player is concerned he could be priced out of a move.

United’s aforementioned £40m (€47m) valuation combined with a current salary of £250,000 per week will make the pool of clubs who can afford to sign him much smaller.

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