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Manchester United 'have no plans to extend Anthony Martial contract'

Man United 'have no plans to extend Martial contract'
© Reuters
Manchester United reportedly have no plans to activate the 12-month extension in Anthony Martial's contract and will let him go for free at the end of the season.

Manchester United reportedly have no intention of activating the 12-month extension option in the contract of French striker Anthony Martial.

The 28-year-old has largely failed to live up to his potential at Old Trafford since joining from Monaco in 2015, commanding a €60m (£51.3m) fee to leave the French giants as a 19-year-old.

Martial has featured regularly for a variety of Red Devils head coaches, registering 90 goals and 55 assists in 317 matches for the club, but his form has been in decline since the start of the 2020-21 campaign.

From 19 appearances in the 2023-24 season - 12 of which have come from the bench - Martial has only managed two goals and two assists, and injuries have also prevented him from making his mark under Erik ten Hag.

Furthermore, the ex-Monaco protege has not managed to complete the full 90 in any of his seven starts this season, lasting just 56 minutes of Saturday's humiliating 3-0 home loss to Bournemouth before being taken off for summer signing Rasmus Hojlund.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag speaks to substitute Anthony Martial on September 30, 2023© Reuters

Martial's underwhelming performance attracted plenty of criticism from pundits and supporters, and while Ten Hag defended his striker, Hojlund is expected to return for Tuesday's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

Martial will soon enter the final six months of his contract with the Red Devils, although the club can trigger an extension to keep the 28-year-old on the books until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Man United activated similar options in the contracts of Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Diogo Dalot and Fred last December but chose not to do so for David de Gea, and according to The Athletic, Martial will share the latter's fate.

Despite forking out north of £50m on the striker's signature in 2015, Man United chiefs are supposedly prepared to let Martial leave the club for nothing in 2024, although a January exit could also materialise for a suitable fee.

Losing Martial next month would likely see Man United step up their interest in a new centre-forward, as the club have been tipped to bring in an experienced option to help ease the burden on Hojlund's shoulders.

Manchester United head coach Erik ten Hag on November 1, 2023© Reuters

Porto's Mehdi Taremi has been heavily linked with a January move to Old Trafford, as has RB Leipzig's Timo Werner, although Roten Bullen boss Marco Rose recently shot down claims that the ex-Chelsea striker could depart.

Thomas Muller is also expected to sign a new Bayern Munich contract despite interest from the Red Devils, who are believed to be keeping track of two other Bundesliga names in Stuttgart's Serhou Guirassy and Borussia Dortmund's Donyell Malen.

Hojlund, who was a £72m acquisition from Atalanta BC over the summer, is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League for Man United, but he has already struck five Champions League goals for the club.

Only Erling Haaland and Alvaro Morata have also managed a quintet of strikes in this year's competition, but Ten Hag's men will be eliminated from top-two contention in Group A if they fail to beat Bayern on Tuesday evening.

Even if the Red Devils can shock the German champions at Old Trafford, they would need Galatasaray and Copenhagen to play out a draw in order to sneak into the last 16.

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