Manchester United gave the punditocracy exactly what they had been craving all summer – a new striker to share the goalscoring load previously heaped almost exclusively on Wayne Rooney’s back.
The general response to the £36 million purchase of Antonio Martial has been lukewarm, but the bwin.com specials on how the former Monaco forward will perform in the Premier League this season point to him being an immediate hit.
The Premier League start line has been set at 28.5 and the goal line at 14.5, with either side of the debate available to take on at odds of 17/20.
In order to give a more qualified assessment of what to expect from the 19-year-old in his debut campaign, news.bwin looked at how the first-team attackers recruited in the past decade did in year one, ignoring reserves Mame Biram Diouf, Bebe and Angelo Henriquez.
That leaves a sample of Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao. Their average first-term start count was 21.5, with the goals weighing in at 11.5 – both significantly under the targets being set for Martial.
Under 14.5 goals backers should see the fact that van Persie was the only of the illustrious sextet – everyone on that list besides perhaps Chicharito has a legitimate claim for being world class – as vindication of their pessimistic outlook.
The 17/20 on under 28.5 starts appears even more attractive given that there are just 34 opportunities left for him to get his 29 in and he made a mere 19 for Monaco in Ligue 1 last term, being called off the bench on 16 occasions.
Going back to the first-season statistics for recent Man Utd forward signings, three of the front men didn’t simply miss the required mark, they fell 14 or more starts short of it.