Axed Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to sell Anthony Martial instead of Dan James

The Norwegian may have been proven right given Martial’s desire to leave (Pictures: Getty)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had wanted to offload Anthony Martial in the summer but was overruled by Manchester United’s hierarchy who decided to sell Dan James instead, according to reports.

The speedy winger swapped Old Trafford for Leeds on deadline day in a £25million deal, though he has struggled somewhat to live up to that price tag with just two Premier League goals in 16 outings.

Martial, meanwhile, has only started two league games all season and wants to leave the club, with interim boss Ralf Rangnick even claiming he had refused to play against Aston Villa last week.

Martial looks increasingly likely to leave United (Picture: Getty)

The French striker, who has not played at all since Rangnick took over, has received minimal interest from other clubs so far, though Sevilla would be prepared to take him on loan if United drop their demands over a fee and agree to subsidise his wages.

Martial’s situation – which resulted in Rangnick only naming eight substitutes on the bench against Villa – has become an unwelcome sideshow for United, though it could have been avoided.

According to The Athletic, Solskjaer would have preferred to move Martial on before James but no-one was willing to stump up the club’s asking price.

The Welshman had actually been told by Solskjaer that he remained part of his plans following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo, though United’s hierarchy made the decision to cash in.

Just a few days after James was reassured by his manager, a United director told James he was now seventh in the attacking pecking order and should join Leeds instead.

Martial barely played under Solskjaer before he was axed (Picture: Getty)

But Solskjaer would have placed James above Martial in his pecking order and felt the Frenchman should have been the player to make way.

The Norwegian’s thinking now appears to be vindicated by the ongoing saga surrounding Martial’s future, with the 26-year-old playing just 359 minutes of football across all competitions this season and netting only once.

Despite his pleas for more regular game time, Martial is also proving to be particularly picky about his next club and is believed to have rebuffed approaches from Tottenham and Newcastle.

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