According to slightly conflicting reports in England, Anthony Martial remains without a new long-term contract at Manchester United, and while nothing is set in stone as of yet, it appears the two sides are inching closer to an agreement – a vast improvement from the situation just a few months ago.
Sky Sports reports that Martial is “close to agreeing” to a new contract, while The Telegraph is slightly more negative on the situation, calling the two sides “hopeful” but stating that “no deal [is] struck yet.”
The reports do not quote any sources directly, but Sky says there has been a “breakthrough in discussions” that leaves the two sides “close” to an agreement, while The Telegraph’s James Ducker states that the two sides are “making progress” in contract talks. Both reports state the contract extension would be five years in length, keeping him under Old Trafford control through the summer of 2024.
Ducker’s report specifically points to the inflated wages of Alexis Sanchez as a hangup over the last few months, not just in Martial’s new contract discussions, but that of goalkeeper David De Gea as well. The insinuation is that if Sanchez is making such a high salary – reportedly as much as $643,000 per week – than a number of more influential players should fall in that realm as well, a prospect the club is likely trying to avoid on a large scale. Sanchez has been missing with a hamstring injury for the last two months, and before that had lost his place in the squad before Jose Mourinho’s departure.
Martial’s contract was set to expire this summer, but the club picked up his one-year option, extending it to the summer of 2020.
The Frenchman’s status under former manager Mourinho also appears to have been a stumbling block, and now that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken over, a new leaf has been turned. Mourinho reportedly attempted to sell Martial this past summer, only to be blocked by the board. Prior to Mourinho’s dismissal, Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley said in December that the two sides were “nowhere close” to agreeing on a contract extension and that “very pessimistic about discussions,” stating that Manchester United “already made several offers that come nowhere near to what we expect.”