Deal Close – Man United fifth signing ‘skips training’ after £67.5m Man Utd bid as Ajax look to Chelsea for replacement
Antony, an Ajax winger, skipped training on Friday despite being present at the club’s training field, as he seeks a summer transfer to Manchester United. The Red Devils made their first official bid for Antony earlier this week and, despite being turned down, intend to return to the table.
Ajax rejected a £67.5 million bid for the 22-year-old on Wednesday, effectively ending United’s interest in the face of cheaper alternatives such as PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo. However, it appears that the Old Trafford giants have gotten encouragement that he is ready to contribute.
United aren’t given up on Antony, according to Fabrizio Romano, and has a plan to try to recruit him again since they believe he’s desperate for a move. Ajax is even debating whether to start the dynamic Brazilian in their match on Sunday, as speculation about his future grows.
According to Mike Verweij, Antony added fuel to the fire by failing to show up for training on Friday. He arrived at De Toekomst but skipped Alfred Schreuder’s session and worked away from the squad in the gym, maybe as a result of Ajax’s refusal to accept an acceptable offer for his services.
United may return with a better offer, but rumors say they are unwilling to go much higher than the £67.5m they have already put on the table. Alternatively, if Antony threatens club discord after being denied a dream reunion with Ten Hag, the Red Devils could be successful with a similar offer.
And Ajax is already looking for replacements in case Ten Hag manages to entice their prized asset away in the final 13 days of the transfer window. According to new Dutch sources, the Eredivisie champions have picked Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech as their preferred replacement for Antony.
Ziyech has been linked with AC Milan and Manchester United after sliding down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel. And he could be enticed by a return to the club he left in a £33 million trade for Stamford Bridge in 2020, joining Steven Bergwijn in leaving the Premier League for a return to Holland.
Antony’s efforts to secure a move to United appear to have turned the tides and ignited the club’s hopes of capturing Ten Hag’s top attacking target. He might become the Dutchman’s sixth signing as manager, following Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, and Casemiro.