As much as the potential changes in the middle of the park has dominated the talk around what business might do in January during the winter transfer window, seeing Juventus try and find some sort of option up front to kick-start its attack is also very much a topic of conversation of late.
Juve’s attack is struggling, and things haven’t gotten all that better as the 2021-22 season has gone on, as Max Allegri has used a handful of formations that have resulted in nothing close to the kind of goal scoring numbers seen under Andrea Pirlo.
As part of La Gazzetta dello Sport’s extremely large Thursday front page story about Juve’s winter (and summer 2022) mercato, the club has been linked with a January move for Manchester United striker Anthony Martial. La Gazzetta has tried to connect the dots after the 26-year-old Martial’s agent has said his client wants client leave Old Trafford next month, saying that he is interested in playing in Italy and that he will be available for an outright sale or on loan.
Sounds too good to be true, right? (Don’t answer that.)
However, not everybody is reporting that Martial (or somebody is his ilk) is the kind of player that Juventus will try and sign next month. According to Italian journalist Nico Schira, Martial has in fact been offered to Juve over the last 24 hours, but his salary of £13 million a season is the No. 1 reason as to why he doesn’t fit the Bianconeri front office’s plan.
Anthony #Martial and Pierre-Emerick #Aubameyang have been offered to #Juventus by some intermediaries in the last hours. Their salaries are very high and are not consistent with new #Juve’s project. #transfers #MUFC #AFC— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) December 16, 2021
From a simple age perspective, Martial — who has also been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid in recent days — very much makes sense for Juventus. He’s 26 and, in theory, very much either entering his prime or already in it. And with the desire to go somewhere and play after only making seven Premier League appearances so far this season, it is very much the chance to do something to try and get something done.
But, like Schira has rightfully pointed out and subsequently reported, Martial’s salary is very much a sticking point in any kind of pursuit of the Frenchman. (And if you think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s now-former captain, is a cheaper option — he isn’t. He makes the same annual amount as Martial does.) Martial is part of a group of attackers at United — yes, one that includes a very notable guy who used to play for Juventus — that is being paid a whole lot of money and amongst some of the highest earners in all of the Premier League.
Maybe Juventus freeing up some salary with the sale of other players could change things, but you have to imagine that the club’s budget is still very much stretched rather thin even though fans are back in the stands this season. (And who knows that might last knowing that there’s another COVID-19 spike happening all around Europe.)
After having the best season in his career in the 2019-20 campaign where he scored 17 league goals in 32 appearances (31 starts), he has scored just five goals against Premier League opposition the last season and a half, a span of 29 games (19 starts).