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Manchester United academy graduate Ethan Laird emerges as surprise target for Ajax

Dutch champions monitoring full-back who has a year left in his contract with Red Devils

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United certainly seem to be building an Ajax connection this season with manager Erik ten Hag and defender Lisandro Martinez both coming straight from Amsterdam. Donny van de Beek, who is already at the club, is another Ajax product along with primary transfer target Frenkie de Jong.

United have found the Dutch champions in no mood to part ways with their players on the cheap. Martinez‘s deal, in particular, required intense negotiations as Ajax played hardball despite their valuation being met.

And now reports have emerged wherein United’s academy graduate Ethan Laird is being targetted by the Eredivise champions.

According to Dutch football journalist Gerhan Hamstelaar, Laird’s agent has indicated that the Dutch giants are among a host of clubs chasing the 20-year-old’s signature. This was corroborated by Bart Sanders, host of the Pantelic Podcast.

The full-back, who spent last season out on loan with Swansea City and Bournemouth, has a year left in his contract with the Red Devils.

He has been used sparingly so far by Ten Hag, coming on as a second half substitute in two of the three pre-season games.

With Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka ahead of him in the pecking order, the England U-19 international needs to figure out what his next step is going to be.

Laird for Antony?

Laird shone for Swansea in the Championship but his stint with the Cherries did not pan out the way he would have hoped for. Injuries have not helped either.

Laird himself would be keen on a move to the Dutch league. And United could gain from such a proposition if it does pan out.

They are desperate for attacking additions with Antony a firm favourite of the new boss. It seemed like the Brazilian would be priced out of a move this season due to Ajax slapping a Β£70 million price tag on him.

But if United include the full-back in a deal for the Brazil international, the price might suit the Red Devils.

Swansea are also interested in bringing him back on loan after his impressive showings last season.

United are aware that he has a year left and might get him to sign an extension before taking a final decision. Ten Hag has seen him in close quarters and a decision should be taken once pre-season engagements start to get wrapped up.

Ajax’s interest, coupled with the fact they are set to strengthen in Antony’s position with FC Porto’s Francisco Conceição, might just make this an interesting watch in the days to come.

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