Barely a matter of weeks since the summer transfer window slammed shut, already the gossip columns around Europe are filling up with rumours ahead of the January transfer window. Of course, any such news the tabloids or online pages should be taken with a pinch of salt, although journalists will always claim ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ as they justify their latest player speculation.

As Mourinho seeks to guide his team towards winning more silverware, with Premier League betting odds at 12/1 with Paddy Power to claim the Premier League crown, 21-year-old Anthony Martial has a potentially pivotal role to play. He’s a player with the tools and the talent to achieve great things not only during this season, but for many years to come.

Since arriving at Old Trafford for £36 million plus extras from Monaco in 2015, few would argue that it’s been roller-coaster ride for the undoubtedly talented young Frenchman. During his first season as a Red Devil, he took to life in English football with aplomb, justifying his move with electrifying performances and contributing an impressive 17 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions.

Last season proved to be one of frustration and inconsistency for Martial, who was brilliant one moment and then completely out of focus the next. After a poor individual start to the campaign, Mourinho looked to be losing faith and patience, as Martial flitted in and out of the side. Fans struggled to understand what was happening, but soon the tabloids were full of reports of a split with his partner. Problems of a personal nature were seriously affecting his focus and performance on the pitch.

With these personal issues seemingly a thing of the past, Martial has made a positive start to the 2017/18 campaign, albeit featuring mostly as an impact player amongst the substitutes, looking to regain the complete confidence of Mourinho. In that capacity, the numbers aren’t to be sniffed at. A star in the Champions League with one goal and two assists in just two games, he’s also contributed three goals and two assists in six Premier League outings, five of which were from the bench.

There’s little doubt that Mourinho was delighted with Martial’s performance in Moscow recently, but until the United boss makes the player a permanent fixture in his starting eleven consistently, the press are continuing to grind out rumours and speculation regarding his future at the club.

It seems that like a dog with a bone, sporting press around Europe are keen to link Martial with a big-money move to a wide variety of destinations. There are always the habitual ‘insert any player name here’ links with Arsenal that perpetuate the gossip columns, but they can rarely be taken seriously. More worryingly for United fans is that, given the transfer of Neymar to PSG and their frustrating summer of transfer activity, Spanish sports paper Marca recently suggested Barcelona could be preparing a serious offer.

Whether there is any fire behind this particular smoke is, quite frankly, irrelevant. Martial will celebrate his 22nd birthday in December and as a talent with the best years still ahead of him, there’s simply no way the club should even consider selling. Not to a Premier League rival, and not to a Champions League rival. Hopefully he will remain at Old Trafford, fully realising the exceptional talent it’s clear he has, helping United into what could be a new golden age with Mourinho at the helm.

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