Manchester United turned down Anthony Martial swap deal with Arsenal

Rangnick comments on Martial's Man Utd future amid exit talk

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Anthony Martial’s time at Manchester United appears to be winding down. The France international has never lived up to expectations at Old Trafford and, with Juventus, Newcastle and Barcelona all linked, is primed to depart in January. However, he could have been an Arsenal player had things worked out differently.

United expected big things from Martial when they signed him on deadline day back in the summer transfer window of 2015.

The France international initially sparkled at Old Trafford, netting three goals in his first two outings against Liverpool and Southampton respectively.

Yet while Martial has produced some electric performances, inconsistency has always held him back from realising his full potential.

Now, United are expected to cut the forward loose when the transfer window reopens in the New Year.

Juventus are one club interested in snapping him up, especially with the Old Lady yet to sufficiently replace the goals of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Barcelona are in the frame, too, even though their financial situation makes any move to the Nou Camp problematic.

And Newcastle are the latest club to register an interest, with Eddie Howe seeking more firepower as he looks to keep the Toon in the Premier League.

Had things been different in January 2018, however, Martial would have become an Arsenal player.

At the time, United wanted to sign Alexis Sanchez.

Though the Chile international’s form had dipped towards the end of his Gunners career, he was still regarded as one of the best players in the Premier League at the time.

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Manchester City had long been considered frontrunners in the race to sign Sanchez, having come close to doing so mere months previously.

Yet United sensed an opportunity and immediately made it clear they wanted the forward, who plays for Inter Milan these days.

ESPN revealed last year that when United expressed interest in a swap deal, Arsenal then responded by asking for Martial.

The 26-year-old was blowing hot and cold under Jose Mourinho at the time, with his inconsistency infuriating his manager.

However, United still turned down the offer and proposed Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to the Emirates Stadium as part of the arrangement instead.

Mkhitaryan had moved to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund back in the summer transfer window of 2016, shortly after Mourinho took over.

But the Armenia international never won round Mourinho, who was more than happy to let him leave the club after 18 underwhelming months.

In the end, neither Sanchez or Mkhitaryan lived up to expectations at their respective clubs.

Sanchez scored just five goals for United before being offloaded to Inter Milan, where he’s been ever since.

Mkhitaryan, meanwhile, struggled for regular action under both Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery before moving to Roma.

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Meanwhile, speaking recently, former United hitman Dimitar Berbatov sent a message to Martial over his future.

“I’m not surprised that Anthony Martial wants to leave Manchester United,” said Berbatov.

“He is fit and ready to go but he isn’t playing games. Martial is a good player and other clubs will want him.

“I’d encourage Martial to go to Ralf Rangnick’s office and tell him about his pain and say what he wants.

“Martial should have an honest conversation with Rangnick, because that way the player will know exactly where he stands in the team.

“And if he doesn’t like what he hears then he should ask to leave.”

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