Erik ten Hag’s dream of being reunited with Ajax winger Antony would appear to be over, if a new report is to be believed.
The 22 year old has been widely reported to be at the top of Ten Hag’s shopping list for forwards as he looks to rebuild an attack that has seen the likes of Edinson Cavani, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard depart the club, while Mason Greenwood’s suspension is ongoing.
However, ESPN’s Rob Dawson claims that Ajax’s £70 million asking price is not negotiable and that United have no intention of paying it.
“Old Trafford bosses have … enquired about signing winger Antony but Ajax have so far stuck to their valuation of £70m and United would not be interested in that price,” Dawson said.
The non-negotiability of the fee corroborates several previous reports claiming the same.
Ajax have raised funds this summer with the sale of players such as Ryan Gravenberch and Sebastien Haller and are expected to also sell centre back Lisandro Martinez to either United or Arsenal.
This leaves them unwilling to part with yet another player and in a strong position to fend off offers.
The player himself is reported to be unhappy with the situation and has asked the club to listen to offers for him.
There have also been rumours of a “strike” as he has not rejoined training with the rest of the squad.
If indeed United’s quest to sign the Brazilian is unsuccessful, The Athletic recently identified some possible alternatives.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby, Napoli’s Hirving Lozano, West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen and Villareal’s Yeremi Pino represent interesting alternatives.
Leeds United’s Raphinha has also been touted but this now looks unlikely as Champions League-offering Chelsea and Barcelona are battling it out for his signature and are at an advanced stage.
Another possibility not discussed by The Athletic is Ousmane Dembélé, who is now a free agent, having failed to agree a contract extension with Barcelona. Those talks are still ongoing and Chelsea are also reportedly interested. United were close to signing the Frenchman in 2020 but the deal fell through.