Ajax have a Chelsea-related plan in place if they sell Antony, as the likelihood of Man Utd finally capturing the Brazilian winger begins to grow, per reports.
Antony emerged on United’s radar almost as soon as Erik ten Hag walked through the front door at Old Trafford. The Dutchman knows Antony well through their time together at Ajax. What’s more, the Red Devils are known to be on the hunt for a versatile new winger.
Manchester United tabled a whopping £67.6m bid for Antony earlier this week. Ajax rejected it and were keen to draw a line in the sand having seen several of their finest players already poached this summer.
Their valuation of Antony is believed to be between £80m-£84m, depending on whose report you read.
That sounds high for a winger who has never hit double figures for goals in a league campaign. However, times are desperate at Old Trafford and given the numbers involved in their Casemiro deal, United are clearly willing to try and spend their way out of trouble.
The Telegraph reported United would turn their attention to fellow Eredivisie stand-out, Cody Gakpo. The PSV Eindhoven ace could be available for a more modest £34m, though the Athletic take a different view.
Man Utd to go above and beyond?
Their reporter, Laurie Whitwell, tweeted Manchester United are ‘considering [a] new bid’ for Antony. What’s more, Ajax are stated to be discussing internally at what price they’d sell Antony at.
That comes amid speculation Antony could be left out of Ajax’s fixture with Sparta Rotterdam on Sunday.
Antony trained alone rather than with his team-mates on Friday. Fabrizio Romano reported the winger trained solo again on Saturday in an attempt to force Ajax’s hand.
Until now, all the signs have pointed towards Ajax rebuffing any and all approaches. However, from a United perspective, a piece of good news on that front has finally emerged.
Ajax want Chelsea attacker to replace Antony
Dutch outlet De Telegraaf report Ajax have a player in mind to replace Antony if he departs – Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech.
The Moroccan earned his move to Stamford Bridge in 2020 following four hugely impressive years at Ajax.
However, his time in London has not nearly been as successful as the Dutch capital. That’s led to Ziyech being made available for sale this summer, with Serie A champions AC Milan taking note.
However, a disagreement over the structure of a loan deal has seen Milan’s move stall. Chelsea’s inability to shift the attacker means he’s still on the market, much to Ajax’s liking.
De Telegraaf state that if Antony does depart, Ziyech will become their ‘focus’.
Their intention is to sign the 29-year-old on loan with an option to buy. It’s suggested they may also accept Chelsea making it an obligation to buy.
Chelsea prefer an obligation being inserted in any loan exit and had attempted to make that part of the deal with Milan. The Italians refused, bringing talks to a standstill.
While it’s still too early to suggest Man Utd will definitely sign Antony, it is at least reassuring that Ajax are now considering replacements.
If United do lodge an even higher bid, the availability of Ziyech could be the deciding factor that makes Ajax say yes.