Anthony Martial could be staying at Manchester United this season after all.
The wantaway forward is now back at training after leaving the club’s pre-season tour in the US, which landed him in boss Jose Mourinho’s bad books, and has been included in the squad for Sunday’s final pre-season friendly away to Bayern Munich.
With the summer transfer window closing on Thursday evening, United don’t want to sell the Frenchman unless they can bring in a direct replacement — and moves to sign long-term targets Willian and Inter Milan’s Croatia World Cup 2018 hero Ivan Perisic have stalled.
It’s understood a swap deal with Chelsea for Willian was mooted.
But the Old Trafford top brass did not see the value in giving up a 22-year-old with his career ahead of him for someone who turns 30 in less than a week, even if he is a Brazil international.
Another complication is that while United don’t want to sell crowd favourite Martial within the Premier League, their £80million valuation is deterring continental clubs from making a move.
Martial arrived from Monaco as a teenager three years ago in a £36m deal that included three £8m ‘add-on’ clauses that could potentially take his total cost to £58m.
So far, the Red Devils have paid out on only one of those clauses — when Martial hit his 25th goal for the club, taking his cost to £44m.
The other two bonus payments will be due should he reach 40 caps for France (he currently has 18) and if he ever wins the Ballon ‘D’Or.
Despite Martial’s problems with Mourinho, who is unhappy with his attitude, United are looking to recoup nearly double their outlay so far, because of the France international’s talent and potential.
Mourinho is reported to have fined Martial two weeks’ wages for failing to return after being giving permission to leave their pre-season tour to the USA for the birth of his second child.
He returned to training on Friday and is in the squad to travel to Germany.
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