It’s now sink or swim for Anthony Martial at Manchester United, following the arrival of Edinson Cavani. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rolled the dice to complete the opportunistic signing of free agent Cavani, who has already been labelled a panic buy by critics.
Although he did not personally request the deal, Solskjaer will be desperate to ensure Cavani proves to be a success under his management.
El Matador is widely recognised as one of the best strikers in world football of the last decade and is expected to guarantee goals.
His minutes in the side may come at the cost of Martial though, who is currently leading the line for United.
His impressive form post-lockdown saw him record his finest goalscoring season to date at Old Trafford, finishing up the 2019/20 season with 23 in all competitions.
Ahead of the opening day of the Premier League season against Chelsea, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “I know that Martial likes to play as a No.9, sometimes, I think for the right reasons, sometimes I think for the wrong reasons, but I know he likes to play as a No.9.
“Of course, [Marcus] Rashford does too, but he adapts perfectly on the left side because he has more responsibility and a high working rate, coping with the progression of a possible full-back.
“Knowing [Cesar] Azpilicueta is not the most creative right-back in the world but he is very powerful and very aggressive and he still gets in attacking positions.”
Mourinho was picking at Martial’s lack of enthusiasm to defend and track back, a key requirement for any Premier League winger.
Before the arrival of Cavani, United’s front four was set in stone due to a lack of quality in reserve.