Anthony Martial will have struck fear into the hearts of Manchester United fans with his bleak assessment of life at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ in a recent interview with French newspaper L’Equipe, but history suggests he won’t be going anywhere for a while.
Martial was asked to list his likes and dislikes, putting ‘Manchester weather, cooking when I’m tired and English cuisine’ in the latter category.
Allied with the arrival of Jose Mourinho, a man who tends to value experience and defensive nous over raw talent, United fans will be wary of Europe’s biggest clubs, in much sunnier climes, reading the 20-year-old’s words as one big ‘come and get me’ plea.
However, Stretford Enders don’t need to panic just yet, as moaning about Manchester has become something of a players’ right of passage in recent decades.
Cristiano Ronaldo was clearly agitating for a move away from the north of England long before his eventual £80m switch to Real Madrid in 2009 – the Portuguese even agreeing with disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter that the club’s refusal to sell was a form of ‘modern slavery’ a year earlier.
Despite constant complaints out of the CR7 camp during his Premier League stint usually relating to, again, the food and the weather, Ronaldo managed to ‘tough it out’ for six full seasons, leaving England with a sackfull of medals plus the 2008 Ballon d’Or.
Current United goalie David de Gea also struggled to acclimatise to the North West, or at least his girlfriend Edurne has.
The 30-year-old singer agreed with a Spanish radio host that Manchester is ‘uglier than the back of a fridge’ two years ago, but despite constant flirtations with Real Madrid, De Gea is still number one at United and looks as likely as not to remain so ahead of the coming season.
Even Patrice Evra, a veteran of almost 400 appearances for the Red Devils between 2006-2014, had trouble getting to grips with the climate during his early days at the club, after making the same move from Monaco Martial completed nine years on.
Of course, if United’s 2016/17 campaign is anything like either of their last three, the precocious French youngster will have real reason to complain, but he can live with the food and the weather.