Manchester United are finally closing in on the signing of Ajax winger Antony after buckling to the Dutch club’s transfer demands, reports say.
The Brazilian star remains United manager Erik ten Hag’s top attacking target, but he has proved hard to sign. Ajax set the tone by rejecting the Red Devils’ initial £67million bid.
United subsequently learned that the Eredivisie giants want £84million. On Friday, the Old Trafford club tested the water again with a £76million bid for Antony.
However, Ajax maintained that, given they have lost several star players already this summer, they want €100million.
In the end, Man Utd have decided to give in and a host of sources including transfer experts Fabrizio Romano and David Ornstein are reporting that both sides are close to an agreement.
The £84million deal will include add-ons and will make Antony United’s second-most expensive signing. Indeed, the figure ranks just below Paul Pogba’s £89million transfer and ahead of Harry Maguire, who cost £80million.
Romano stresses that there is still “no full agreement in place” but that United “feel they’re finally close”.
Sky Sports reports that the knock-on effect will be that a move for PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo is off. United had targeted the Dutchman as a strong Plan B for an attacking signing.
Ajax split over Antony to Man Utd
Meanwhile, De Telegraaf journalist Mike Verweij has revealed how Ajax chiefs were split over letting Antony leave.
Technical manager Gerry Hamstra and former Ajax star Klaas-Jan Huntellar both wanted the 22-year-old to stay. First-team manager Alfred Schreuder was also against him leaving.
However, financial director Susan Lenderink had the responsibility of making the final call. And she has accepted Antony’s wishes to depart for the right price.
As such, Sky Sports News claims that the transfer will ‘accelerate’ in the next day or two.
Personal terms not an issue
Antony is likely to reach a swift agreement over personal terms at Old Trafford. In a recent explosive interview, he expressed his desire to move to United in no uncertain terms.
Furthermore, he did not make the matchday squad for Ajax’s 2-0 win over Utrecht on Sunday. Reports claimed that he has gone on strike to try to force his move.
Speaking ahead of the match, Ajax boss Schreuder said: “The Antony situation hasn’t changed compared to last week. We discuss it internally every day, also with the player.
“He reports himself at the club and we speak. But I want to focus on the players we have here, for now Antony is not important.”
United to get their man
As such, it seems that Ten Hag will once again seal a second signing of the summer from Ajax.
Lisandro Martinez has already joined the Red Devils for £57million from the Dutch club. After early criticism, the Argentine has settled in well alongside Raphael Varane.
Should Antony’s deal now go through as expected, it is up to the Brazilian to also prove himself.
There is lots more competition up top compared with United’s defence. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are looking to prove themselves after difficult spells.
Jadon Sancho, last summer’s £73million winger signing from Borussia Dortmund, has also enjoyed a strong start to the season.
But Ten Hag is clearly confident that Antony can shake up his attacking ranks and become an impressive signing.