Chelsea have emerged as a shock contender for Anthony Martial’s signature – but may have to sell first if they wish to land the Manchester United.
The Telegraph has reported that the Blues are keen to swoop for the forward in the summer if he continues to forego signing a new long-term deal at Old Trafford, but owner Roman Abramovich would need to sanction departures before allowing his manager – Antonio Conte or otherwise – to make a move.
Chelsea are in danger of missing out on the Champions League riches for the second time in three seasons, and would have a financial shortfall of between £50m to £70m if they fail to rein in Liverpool or Tottenham for a top four spot.
That would leave the Stamford Bridge club needing to balance the books for Financial Fair Play purposes, and ensure that Abramovich would have to let players leave in order to stump up the funds for incomings.
Fringe players out on loan could cover any potential offset from failing to qualify for UEFA’s flagship continental tournament, but it is much more likely that stars such as Eden Hazard will be targeted by European rivals like Real Madrid.
In any event, the fact that Chelsea want to sign Martial is yet another sign that United should be doing all they can to keep him happy in the north west or risk losing the France international in the close season.
(You may also be interested in Report Claims Brendan Rodgers’ Chelsea Job Hopes Fading for Bizarrely Petty Reason)
Martial has become aggrieved at a lack of game time following the January arrival of Alexis Sanchez, and won’t pen a new five-year deal to extend his stay unless he is guaranteed a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho.
Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have all been credited with interest in the 22-year-old should he become available, and United would need to sell him this summer or lose him for nothing when his contract expires in June 2019.
Chelsea are hopeful of making additions to their senior squad, with defence and midfield their primary objectives, but a transfer switch for Martial is also on the cards if Abramovich can convince him to move down south.