Manchester United forward Anthony Martial is said to be considering a temporary move to Sevilla despite his club’s reticence over a loan.
Sevilla have made a request to take the France international for the rest of the season after he admitted growing frustrated in his limited opportunities under Jose Mourinho.
United are reluctant to let the 21-year-old leave and Mourinho has told Martial that he must work harder and follow the example of Mkhitaryan whose United career has taken off following a difficult start.
‘Every player is different,’ Mourinho told French channel SFR Sport. ‘I had this season a situation that was more difficult than Anthony — Mkhitaryan.
‘Mkhitaryan was completely open and understood the difference between me and other coaches he had. He worked a lot without playing, but he worked a lot to try to reach the level.
‘People forget that Anthony is very, very young and last season Manchester United played completely different than we do today.
‘He was basically playing up front. The team had lots of passive ball possession, waiting just for a moment to put it into space for Anthony to go and score a goal.
‘This season is more difficult. I think he needs a little bit of time to improve.
‘We have so many good players in similar positions — Martial, (Juan) Mata, Mkhitaryan, (Wayne) Rooney. I cannot give him four, five, six, seven matches in a row when I have other people on the sidelines waiting for a chance.
‘I try to give him chances. In fact, I gave him good chances because I played him against Tottenham and Arsenal, in some big matches.
‘It’s taking a little bit of time but he’s a great kid. He wants to improve. He’s a good professional so I have no fears — I’m sure he will be there.’
However, Martial’s representative Philippe Lamboley is looking at options for the young striker telling ABCdeSevilla:
‘We are studying the Sevilla option in detail.’
‘Sevilla are a very good club, are in a good position in La Liga, play in the Champions League and have a great coach. That’s all I can tell you.’
Martial joined United from Monaco in 2015 for an initial £36 million and scored 17 goals in a sparkling debut season. But he has been beset by off the field issues and has struggled to replicate his form on the pitch.