Erik ten Hag has seen enough of his Manchester United players to realize that certain areas need reinforcements ahead of a jam-packed season. United are calling out for improvements in their midfield and attack while the new boss has already improved the defensive unit by bringing in two fresh faces.
When Ten Hag arrived at Old Trafford, it was widely speculated that the Brazilian would be joining him soon as the pair shared a special relationship during their time in Holland.
But the Eredivise champions have so far played hardball over the Brazil international, which has led to United having to adopt a wait-and-watch policy, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding Cristiano Ronaldo‘s future.
Ajax were asking for £67.3 million for Antony, an amount United deemed too expensive. Even the player himself was not too happy, considering the valuation too high which would prevent him from moving to his desired club.
Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder tells @ZiggoSport on Antony’s future: “We are assuming that we can keep this squad together. But I know, and everyone knows, that in football you never know”. ⚪️🔴🇧🇷 #transfers
Antony’s still one of the names in Erik ten Hag’s list at Man United. pic.twitter.com/7YZ24upOOT
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2022
Ajax are able to afford this stance because they are in a strong financial situation at the moment having already sold multiple players this transfer window including Lisandro Martinez to the Red Devils.
However, reports have emerged recently which state that the club from Amsterdam might be ready to do business for a lower fee.
Liverpool and Chelsea were also linked with the 22-year-old but United appear to be edging ahead in the race for the highly-coveted attacker.
Antony edging closer to United
According to 90min, United are currently looking to complete a deal for £58.9 million which means the clubs remain around £8m apart which is not that big a gap.
Journalist Sam Pilger has also chimed in and said that the Brazilian winger is now edging closer to a move to Old Trafford this summer.
“Antony is edging closer to #MUFC. There is an understanding Ajax are now willing to lower their initially unreasonable asking price and do a deal. United about to go back with another bid,” Pilger tweeted.
The biggest advantage United currently have of completing the deal is the fact that the player himself sees Old Trafford as his next destination and has reportedly informed the club that he wants to move to the Premier League.
Even the new Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder could not guarantee that the former Sao Paulo attacker would remain a part of the Dutch giants.
We are assuming that we can keep this squad together. But I know, and everyone knows, that in football you never know,” the manager was quoted as saying by Ziggo Sports prior to Ajax’ friendly against Shakhtar.
The club’s technical manager Gerry Hamstra had opened the doors for United to swoop in by telling Voetbal International, “We want to keep this group together. I assume that no-one leaves this core anymore.
“Of course, you can never say never and I have learned that by now. But we also talk about it with the players and have conversations, also boys who may have a wish to leave. Ajax players are drawn, that is logical.”
However, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano this morning noted that head coach Alfred Schreuder remains reluctant, saying “Internally we have agreed that we want to keep the current squad together. Nobody wants to sell him.
“Antony is working well. I don’t have the feeling that he’s busy with a transfer”.
"Antony is working well. I don't have the feeling that he's busy with a transfer", added. pic.twitter.com/VASFiFTGmq
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 27, 2022
Ajax have already signed Conceicao who is as per Hamstra’s quotes to Het Parool considered to be Antony’s successor. This clearly shows that they are preparing for life without Antony and United should hopefully wrap up a deal soon so that the winger gets time to acclimatize to the rigors of the Premier League.