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Martial to pen new five-year deal

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ANTHONY Martial is considering signing a new five-year contract with Manchester United in the latest sign of Jose Mourinho’s diminishing power at Old Trafford.

Mourinho was keen to offload Martial this summer but any such move was vetoed by Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman. The club want to keep Martial, regardless of how Mourinho feels about the Frenchman, in a move that will cast further doubts over the manager’s future ahead of Sunday’s crunch game against Burnley at Turf Moor.

Mourinho was backed in the aftermath of United’s 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Monday – their second loss in three games – but there are players and staff at the club who believe it is only a matter of time before the Portuguese is sacked and Martial’s situation will merely reinforce that view.

The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend how the 22-year-old had felt emboldened by United’s refusal to bow to Mourinho’s desire to sell him and the prospect of the forward signing a new deal would mark another severe blow to the manager’s dwindling authority.

Woodward refused to sanction moves for two Mourinho transfer targets this summer – Belgium  defender Toby Alderweireld from Tottenham Hotspur or Leicester City and England centre-half Harry Maguire – much to the manager’s frustration. Mourinho no longer has control over transfer matters and the club’s willingness to give a lucrative new contract to a player he does not wish to keep further undermines his position.

Martial, along with Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, is considered to be central to United’s future by Woodward and his allies and they were unwilling to entertain the idea of selling the player signed from Monaco by Louis van Gaal, Mourinho’s predecessor, in 2015. So far he has cost them £44 million of a projected £61 million fee.

Philippe Lamboley, Martial’s agent, announced in June that the player wanted to leave Old Trafford but that stance has now softened and it is unlikely that he would be countenancing staying at the club if he did not feel he could outlast Mourinho.

Martial was fined about £180,000 – two weeks’ wages – last month after reputedly leaving United’s pre-season tour of the US without permission in order to attend the birth of his second child. However, those close to Martial suggested the player did have permission and was dismayed to be fined.

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