The Hard Tackle takes a look at some of the key stories doing the rounds pertaining to Manchester United.
Manchester United face a crunch visit to Goodison Park on Sunday night, but here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Old Trafford.
Martial’s first add-on payment beckons
Anthony Martial was on the score sheet for Manchester United on Wednesday night, as he scored a couple of goals to guide the Red Devils to a 4-1 win over West Ham United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals. His goals, along with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brace, set up an EFL Cup semi-final date with Hull City.
Manchester United signed France international Anthony Martial for a reported £36 million from Ligue 1 club AS Monaco last year. The Old Trafford outfit, however, also agreed to a series of further add-ons that are based on different parameters of Martial’s performance during his career at United.
Martial’s third and fourth goals of the season took his tally to 21 goals for Manchester United, and Daily Mail have reported that the first of the payments to Monaco will soon be due. United will be required to pay Monaco €10m (£8.4m) if and when Martial reaches 25 goals for the club.
A further payment of €10m will again be due if and when the forward reaches 25 appearances for France – he has amassed 15 so far of which nine meet the stipulated criteria.
Mkhitaryan on playing for Manchester United
Henrikh Mkhitryan has opened up about his time at Manchester United, his difficult start at the club and the stage that is Old Trafford. Writing for The Players’ Tribune, Armenia captain Mkhitaryan said: “When you walk onto the pitch at Old Trafford, it is not just a pitch, it is a stage.”
He continued: “I will never forget that moment, nor will I forget the time I put on the red Manchester United shirt before my first training session with the club. It made me feel so happy and proud about what I had achieved in my career.”
Admitting that the start at Manchester United has been anything but ideal, Mkhitaryan wrote: “At the beginning of this season at United, I suffered an injury and have not had many chances to play. It would be fair to say that the start of my life in Manchester was not perfect. But there have been many other times when I’ve had setbacks, and I have never given up. I will continue working every day so that I can help the team succeed.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for Manchester United from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in the summer, but the attacking midfielder who got 18 goals and 25 assists for the German club last season has struggled to hold down a regular place in the starting XI for the Red Devils. A man-of-the-match performance in the win over West Ham last night, though, might signal a change in fortunes as he bids to become a fixture in Jose Mourinho’s first team.
Carrick hails Schweinsteiger return; frets retirement away from Old Trafford
Michael Carrick revealed that he is elated by German legend Bastian Schweinsteiger’s comeback to the Manchester United first team. Former Germany captain Schweinsteiger made his first appearance for United this season, coming on for the last four minutes in the win over West Ham on Wednesday.
Earlier in the season, Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United career appeared to be all but over after Jose Mourinho revealed that the German wasn’t in his plans for the season. As reported by the Guardian, Carrick said: “He got an unbelievable reception. It was great for him. Just to see him back playing. He nearly scored as well, so that would have been nice. It was good to see him back.”
Carrick also opened up about the prospect of retirement and said that he can’t imagine retiring away from Old Trafford. The midfielder signed a one-year extension with the Red Devils before the start of the 2016/17 season, and with his deal set to run out this season, the Manchester United fans are sweating over his position at the club.
“I am quite relaxed,” Carrick said. “It [his future] is not something I am looking to do at the minute but it would be very difficult to play somewhere else.” Mourinho recently pointed out his regret at not being able to work with a younger Carrick, but also hinted that a new deal for the 35-year-old could be imminent.