For each of the past five seasons Barcelona have spent some serious money in the summer transfer window, and reports today are now suggesting they have made Anthony Martial their number one target for next summer.
The Spanish giants made Ousmane Dembele the second most expensive player in the world this past summer when they paid Borussia Dortmund €105 million plus a potential €40m in add-ons.
12 months earlier they spent €35 million plus a potential €20m in add-ons for Euro 2016 winner Andre Gomes, from Benfica. The summer before they brought in Arda Turan from Atletico Madrid (€34m + €7m). In 2014 Luis Suarez joined from Liverpool for a then astronomical €81.25m. And that had come 12 months after Neymar had joined from Santos, for which the reports of the transfer fee vary from €57 million to over €100m.
The Catalans were powerless to prevent Neymar from joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world record €222 million earlier this summer, replacing him with Ousmane Dembele. After an impressive start from the French teenager at Camp Nou was cut short by being sidelined with an injury that is expected to keep him out for most of the season.
Dembele was reportedly Barcelona’s second interest at the time, after Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho. Despite the substantial reported figures being thrown around, Jurgen Klopp’s side decided to hang onto the inconsistent Brazilian.
According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo today, Barcelona have made Manchester United’s Anthony Martial their number one target for next summer.
Martial picked up our Player of the Month award for September and has been outstanding down the left wing. He has been in-and-out of the starting lineup this season, rotating with 19-year-old Marcus Rashford. Should Martial continue his excellent performances into October I expect the French international will be starting more games than Rashford in the near future.
However, it’s the lack of consecutive starts that Mundo Deportivo believe will play a role in Barcelona signing Anthony Martial next summer. They report the competition of Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rashford, Juan Mata and even Jesse Lingard could be too much for the 21-year-old, and then add Zlatan Ibrahimovic to boot. Though the Swede is only on a one-year deal and won’t be back until the Christmas period at the earliest.
The Spanish newspaper also fails to report that Anthony Martial may have a hard time breaking into Barcelona’s front three which currently consists of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele when fit! On top of that they also have Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu as backup.
Where Anthony Martial lies in Jose Mourinho’s long-term plans remains to be seen. The way he is playing he certainly has the ability to become a regular starter down the left side of our attack for a very long time. Barcelona certainly wouldn’t be able to offer him a regular central striker role I can tell you that much.