The transfer deadline at the beginning of the week saw Manchester United splash an incredible £36m on Anthony Martial, a young man with 11 Ligue 1 goals.
The deal could eventually rise to a meteoric £59m and Neil Ashton of the Daily Mail, citing reports in France, has explained that Monaco used Arsène Wenger to extract such a huge fee from the Manchester club.
Arsenal were looking for a striker this summer and failed in a move for Karim Benzema. While in negotiations with Manchester United, Ashton has said that someone convinced Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, who was reportedly close to a deal of just over £21m for Martial, of interest and even a bid from other clubs to drive the price up.
It doesn’t appear that Arsenal or Wenger, well known for his knowledge of young talent in France, made any bid for the teenager, despite admiring his ability. Nonetheless, claims are being made that Woodward was conned and Manchester United now have an extremely big risk on their books.
Neil Ashton piece suggests Ed Woodward was conned into belief he was in bidding war with Arsenal for Martial & that player preferred Wenger.
— Football’s a Country (@FutbolsaCountry) September 5, 2015
Reports from France are saying that Monaco led Ed Woodward to believe that Wenger had bid for Martial & he fancied them to push up the price
— Dave O’Connell (@DaveOCKOP) September 5, 2015
Martial was also said to have been eager to work with the Arsenal boss and there’s no doubt that, if true, Manchester United overpaid out of desperation.
If it was indeed Monaco who used Wenger in negotiations then, frankly, it’s hilarious.
The report seems pretty vague – Ashton doesn’t say who convinced Woodward that Arsenal were competing, or how they did it – but it seems realistic.
Arsenal had been linked with the Frenchman earlier in the summer but it really doesn’t seem like any interest was ever serious enough to table an offer.