Manchester United close in on Martial after striker leaves France squad

The 19-year-old striker has been given leave by Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps to travel to England to finalise the details of a move to Old Trafford

Manchester United appear to be closing in on a deal for Monaco striker Anthony Martial after the French Football Federation confirmed the 19-year-old had left the national team in order to travel to England.

Signing a new striker is Louis van Gaal’s top priority before the close of the English transfer window on Tuesday, with Javier Hernandez widely reported to be in advanced talks with Bayer Leverkusen.

And Martial, who scored nine goals in 35 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco last season and was linked with Tottenham this summer, has risen to the top of United’s wishlist after Chelsea snatched unsettled Barcelona forward Pedro from Van Gaal’s grasp earlier this month.

A statement from the FFF read: “Anthony Martial was presented Monday at 11:00 at the gathering of the France team at Clairefontaine. He requested from Didier Deschamps permission to travel to England to sign a contract with Manchester United.

“Given the exceptional circumstances, the coach has acceded to the request of the player.

“Anthony Martial left Clairefontaine Monday at 12:00. He will return on Tuesday morning.”

Martial has come to be regarded as one of Ligue 1’s brightest attacking talents since joining Monaco from Lyon in the summer of 2013 and has represented France at every youth level.

He would become United’s sixth signing of a busy summer, joining Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sergio Romero and Matteo Darmian at Old Trafford.