Antony has reportedly refused to play for Ajax on Sunday in a bid to eventually seal his long-awaited transfer to Manchester United.
The Old Trafford club have been chasing their top attacking target for several weeks now. In the past week, though, the talk over the deal has stepped up significantly.
United firstly had a £67.6million bid rejected, showing both their desire to sign Antony and Ajax’s high bar over his value.
On Friday, meanwhile, Man Utd had a new £74.6million offer for the exciting Brazilian turned down.
Antony has subsequently given a no-nonsense interview urging Ajax to “listen” to him and let him leave. However, the Dutch giants have already lost several star players this summer and feel determined to keep Antony.
As a result, the Sunday Mirror reports that the 22-year-old has gone on strike. He is refusing to play Sunday’s Eredivisie clash with Eintracht Frankfurt.
The move comes after he pulled out of Ajax’s previous clash against Sparta Rotterdam last Sunday.
The newspaper claims Antony hopes the make-or-break move will finally turn heads at the top of his club.
But after a board meeting earlier this week, Ajax are insistent that they will demand £84.8million from Man Utd.
Ajax boss speaks out on Antony, Man Utd
And Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder has detailed in no uncertain terms his reasoning for wanting Antony to stay.
“I can’t see why he wants to go to Manchester United,” Schreuder said.
“We are playing in the Champions League and they are not. Yes, they are a big club, but so are we in my opinion.
“For me it is clear. I have lost so many players, this boy is staying!”
United are reportedly planning a final offer for Antony which could yet change Ajax’s minds. The Dutch club’s board are meeting again on Sunday.
Transfer faces defining few days
With the transfer window closing on Thursday, the reported decision from Antony to go on strike feels like it could be a turning point in negotiations.
While his recent interview said it all over his desire to leave, actions speak louder than words. And simply refusing to play for Ajax may make the club think twice.
It is the clearest sign yet that he does not want to stay at Ajax, with Man Utd hot on his tail.
Should Man Utd make their final offer, they may yet be able to prise their star target away from the Netherlands.
He would become their second-most expensive signing, but Erik ten Hag clearly believes he is worth it.