Manchester United made an initial bid for Ajax winger Antony, who helped Erik ten Hag’s former team win the Eredivisie last season, but it was turned down.
Manchester United’s initial proposal for Antony was rejected because it fell roughly £20 million short of Ajax’s valuation.
The 22-year-old Brazilian winger is one of Erik ten Hag’s key transfer targets after impressing under the new United manager at Ajax last season. He scored 12 goals in all competitions to help Amsterdam win the Eredivisie for the second year in a row.
Antony was voted the Eredivisie’s Talent of the Month in December and has since made his way into Brazil’s senior team, earning nine caps. He is anticipated to be a member of their World Cup squad in Qatar after helping them win gold at the Olympics last year.
United submitted a €60 million (£51 million) deal for Antony, but Ajax is holding out for €80 million (£68 million). Emerson Santos, the player’s agent, is said to have met with United to finalize a transfer, but the Dutch champions want to keep him for another season.
Antony still has three years left on his Ajax contract, and new coach Alfred Schreuder is said to consider him a member of his squad. The brilliant kid is said to want to reunite with Ten Hag, the man who gave him his chance in European football.
Ajax, on the other hand, is not under financial duress to sell Antony, having recently sold former West Ham striker Sebastien Haller to Borussia Dortmund. That transaction was finalized on Wednesday afternoon for a reported €35 million (£29.9 million), with Haller signing a four-year contract.
Ten Hag has previously stated that there is nothing preventing him from singing Antony. “There is no agreement in place that would prevent me from taking players to Manchester United,” he explained to WeTalkAjax. “Which Ajax players pique your interest? I have some excellent players on my team.”
Antony has been characterized as an “amazing talent” by Ten Hag. He continued: “He is going through an extraordinarily wonderful transformation. If we perform well in the Champions League, it is evident that he will emerge into the spotlight and be of interest to many clubs.”
Antony enjoys Ten Hag as well. “Through his training, every player under his direction becomes a better footballer,” he remarked in March. “He has given me a lot of confidence and believes in what I can do since my arrival. That is something I am grateful to him for.”
Antony rose through the ranks at Sao Paulo, where he made 52 appearances before joining Ajax in July 2020. The Dutch conglomerate initially invested £13 million on the then-19-year-old, with the total amount potentially rising to £18.2 million through add-ons.
Rivaldo, a Brazilian icon, has urged Antony to leave Ajax for Manchester United this summer. “Manchester United, who have his former boss Erik ten Hag, appears to be the closest club to signing him, and I’m convinced we’ll all love seeing him play at Old Trafford,” Rivaldo told Betfair.
“Like [Leeds United winger] Raphinha, he may benefit from playing at a bigger club to come closer to becoming a regular at the World Cup, but I also believe his place in the squad is certain because Tite has been calling him up recently and has faith in his talents.”