Phil Thompson has said that Anthony Martial’s new five-and-a-half-year contract at Manchester United could be the best bit of business in the whole transfer window.
Granted, there hasn’t been a lot happening in this January transfer window, with Gonzalo Higuain’s loan move to Chelsea one of the few highlights.
However, after months of speculation that he could leave Manchester United, Anthony Martial completed a huge 180 today, committing his long-term future to the Old Trafford outfit to keep him at the club until 2024.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, former Liverpool defender Phil Thompson praised Manchester United’s hierarchy for believing in Martial, even when Jose Mourinho didn’t.
“Jose was wanting to get rid of this guy. He was wanting him out of the door, and the lad was thinking about leaving, but the club believed in him,” said the 65-year-old.
“There was a little bit of a standoff last summer, and the club said no, no, no, we’ve got to believe in this guy. He’s still extremely young, and he’s got the best years ahead, and they believed in him.”
However, with United finally close to offloading the much-maligned figure of Marouane Fellaini to the Chinese Super League, Thompson compared the shift in mentality at United under Solskjaer compared to that of Mourinho, saying that Martial’s new contract could be the best bit of business this month.
“You look at Fellaini who got given a new contract last summer by Jose, and you see that it is all changing around at Manchester United,” Thompson continued.
“This could be one of the signings of the transfer window – because there’s not a lot happening and I know we’ve all been waiting for this for the last couple of weeks – but my goodness, it’s a turnaround in fortunes.
“Would he have been looking to pastures new, wanting to get away from there? But as the wins have gone on, the feelgood factor has come back under Soskjaer.
“And [with] Fellaini going out of the door – he’s been a good honest pro – but he was that part of that Mourinho era of ‘Get him on’. If it’s not going right, ‘get him on in the last 20 minutes’, if we are winning ‘We are still going to get him on to defend the box’.
“I think its nice that you’ve got this attacking talent, and you’ve allowed Fellaini to go.”