Manchester United appear to have stalled in their pursuit of one former Erik ten Hag protégé…
According to Sky Sports News reporter Dharmesh Sheth, a move for Ajax winger Antony is “completely off the agenda” for the Red Devils.
Man United are unwilling to make a move for the player while his asking price remains as it is. Sky didn’t reveal a potential price tag but The Daily Mail suggested last week that it sat at a whopping £84m.
As a result, the only thing that would make the deal tenable would be a significant price reduction, and with the Amsterdam club under no pressure to sell, it appears that United will miss out on their transfer target.
Although United have strengthened well in midfield by bringing in Christian Eriksen, they are yet to make any significant attacking additions this summer.
Whether or not Ten Hag plans to rely on the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, the skilful Brazilian would surely be a better option and would get supporters at Old Trafford off their seats. It will be a blow for United fans to see that their club will not fork out the astronomical £68m asking price for the Ajax gem.
A reunion between Ten Hag and the 22-year-old would in turn give the Red Devils a player who scored 12 goals and supplied ten assists in 32 appearances last season. Antony’s creativity and flair would likely pair well with Jadon Sancho and would facilitate the great Cristiano Ronaldo to finish things off in the penalty area, should he stay at Old Trafford amid speculation over his future.
The Brazilian’s average of 1.7 key passes per game from 2021/22 further supports this, and if those key passes were to find Ronaldo, there would likely only be one outcome – goal.
To add another constant goal threat would also be welcomed by the new manager, as Antony ranks in the top 1% for assists and total shots and the top 2% for progressive carries among positional peers in European competition last term. Those figures would suggest that there are few players in Europe who can terrorise full-backs in the way that he can.
The attacker was appropriately dubbed ”electric” by football writer Karan Tejwani, and perhaps this kind of excitement is exactly what United fans need after the misery of last season.
Ten Hag will surely be desperate for a reunion with Antony, who could bring goals, assists and skills to the Red Devils. If they can tempt Ajax to lower their asking price, it could prove to be a huge coup for United.
For now, the manager may well be gutted that any such transfer appears to be off the table.