Anthony Martial was brought to Manchester United from AS Monaco last summer for a fee of around £36million plus bonuses and was called a 'waste of money' by many newspapers straight away. It wasn't long until the striker showed how wrong they were to write him off by scoring 17 goals in his first season at the club.
United had been scouting Martial for a long while so they knew what they would be getting when they bought him. Martial had been attracting interest from a lot of clubs but they were told he would be staying at Monaco for another season. Monaco, though, failed to qualify for the Champions League and then United took the chance to seize the moment and pay the money required to bring the talented striker to the club.
The decision to sign the striker was verified as it didn't take him long to settle and he had a brilliant season for the club under difficult circumstances as the club failed to meet the target of qualifying once again for the Champions League.
Dream debut for Martial
Martial's first game was a big one as he made his debut from the bench against Liverpool at Old Trafford. It turned out to be something special as he was given the ball on the left-hand side of the box and he dribbled the ball past Martin Skrtel and calmly stroked the ball beyond Simon Mignolet to send the Old Trafford crowd into a frenzy as the striker made it 3-1. A new star was born at Old Trafford and especially scoring against bitter rivals Liverpool, it made things even sweeter.
The striker then scored a double on his next Premier League appearance away to Southampton to show that he was more than a one-trick pony and that when United needed him in a difficult game he would stand up. Martial then scored against Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup a few days later to make it four goals in three games to prove that he could b the real deal.
Martial scored so many goals at crucial times for United
Martial scored two goals for United during their failed Champions League campaign. The first one was a late equaliser against CSKA Moscow away from home with a lovely diving header, just one example of him leading the Reds despite his young age. The other goal was the opener during United's must-win game away to Vfl Wolfsburg which didn't matter in the end as the Germans knocked United out. The defeat condemned United to the Europa League which is not where the club wanted to be.
United went through a terrible period after being knocked out the Champions League in December but Martial was the one player that looked like he could get the team out a slump. Martial scored against Norwich City at Old Trafford in a terrible 2-1 defeat for the team. The slump was finally ended in January when United beat Swansea City at home with Martial opening the scoring for the Reds on that day before assisting Wayne Rooney, once again showing his importance.
Martial was on target again for the Reds when they played Stoke City at Old Trafford. United won the game 3-0 but the standout goal of the game came from Martial. The goal was what United are all about on the counter attack and Martial scored a wonderful curling shot from the edge of the box which went in the top corner. It has just won the 'Premier League Goal Cup'. In February, despite falling to defeat against Sunderland 2-1, Martial still shone for United scoring a wonderful chipped goal.
Martial's next big impact for United came against West Ham United in United's FA Cup quarter-final against them at Old Trafford. Martial scored in the last 10 minutes of the game to take the game to a replay that United went on to win. United were drawn in the Europa League against Liverpool and were down after the first leg and would go on to get knocked out but Martial once again at Old Trafford got a goal for United, this time from the penalty spot.
Martial's last minute winner sent United through to the FA Cup final
The French striker's next goal for the club was the winner for the Reds against Everton at Old Trafford on Sir Bobby Charlton's big day where his stand was revealed in the stadium. Martial would go on to score and even more important goal for the club against Everton at Wembley in the semi-final as he scored the winner for the Reds in the last minute of injury time. The goal in the semi-final was great for Martial as it showed how big a goal it was by the way all the players and fans were celebrating.
United entertained champions Leicester City at Old Trafford at the beginning of May and it was Martial once again who scored the opening goal in the 1-1 draw between the sides. Martial's final two goals of the season came in United's must-win game away at West Ham where he almost single-handedly got the side the win but, in the end, the defenders let him down as United lost the game 3-2 to end their hopes of a top-four finish.
Overall Martial's season has been amazing as he just didn't score goals he also made goals by clocking up eight assists over the season. The key now for United is to make sure that they can keep the striker for as long as they can and build around him as he will only get better over time.