Manchester United remain hopeful of signing Antony from Ajax.
Prior to the Liverpool preseason game, Erik ten Hag confirmed that “in offence we are still looking for players” and right wing remains an area of priority.
While Jadon Sancho has impressed out on tour, he is the only winger at the club comfortable on the right, although there are question-marks over whether or not even he is better suited to the left.
The only left-footed attacker in the squad remains Amad, who has returned from a disappointing loan spell at Rangers to partake in a preseason in which he has failed to impress.
All of those factors contribute towards United’s determination to bring a second Ajax player in this summer, following the agreement to sign Lisandro Martinez for an initial £46m.
Antony captured the attention of Europe’s top scouts with his exceptional dribbling ability last season, and he would make a great addition to a squad the new manager has described as requiring “multiple weapons” in breaking down opposition defences.
The problem here has been Ajax’s unwillingness to part with the Brazilian trickster.
Having lost not just Martinez, but Sebastien Haller, Nassair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch as well, losing a fifth starting player is a proposition for which the Dutch champions would require a huge sum to accept.
A £68m price tag looks well above market value for the 22-year-old, although United maintain an ember of hope that an agreement can be reached.
That ember may just have found a fan, with Ajax recently activating a £4.25m release clause to sign Francisco Conceição from FC Porto.
A Brazilian right winger who favours his left foot, Conceição would be seen as a direct replacement for Antony.
That could open the door for Antony in this window, although there is every possibility Ajax will want to develop their new signing into the role before throwing him in at the deep end.
It will be well worth watching how Conceição performs in the Eredivise club’s opening fixtures – should he start and start well, Antony’s £68m price tag may drop to a more reasonable figure before deadline day looms.
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