Ajax have been left angered by Erik ten Hag’s push to sign Antony for Manchester United and have increased his price as a result, forcing the Red Devils to reach a big decision.
Manchester United have already raided the Eredivisie champions once this summer. They paid Ajax around £55million to sign Argentine defender Lisandro Martinez.
But Ten Hag wants his new club to go back in for Martinez’s former team-mate Antony. The 22-year-old would strengthen his options in forward areas and provide Manchester United with more attacking threat.
After Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder tried to end Antony’s transfer links with United, the move came back into the limelight on Wednesday.
Ajax technical manager Gerry Hamstra admitted ‘you can never say never’ about summer moves. He also suggested some players want to leave the Johan Cruyff Arena, with Antony thought to be among them.
This put the Red Devils back on the hunt for the Brazilian.
The Daily Mail provide an update on the transfer saga. They claim Ten Hag recently made a new push to United officials, urging them to make a move for Antony.
However, this was met with anger by Ajax chiefs as they are eager to hold onto the 22-year-old. They have resultantly sent a message to United, to get across the point that Antony is ‘non-transferable’.
Man Utd suffer setback in Antony pursuit
Ajax have put his price tag up to an eye-watering £84million. It was previously £68m, representing a £16m increase.
United have history of paying top dollar to improve their first team. Just look at the deals which took Paul Pogba, Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford.
They can afford to spend £84m on Antony but don’t want to pay over the odds yet again. And as per journalist Phil Brown, their chase for him is now over.
Brown tweeted: “Exclusive: Manchester United have given up on their pursuit of Antony due to Ajax’s asking price.
“There is a slim chance it could be revisited if other moves don’t come off but it’s off the agenda for the moment.”
One aspect which has rarely been reported on is Antony’s feelings about the move. He would probably like the chance to work with Ten Hag again.
However, Gary Neville thinks United have been a ‘graveyard’ for players in recent years and Antony might see it this way. They haven’t won anything since 2016-17 and have also failed to improve many of their top stars.
At Ajax, Antony can add to his winners’ medals by helping the Dutch club pursue league titles and domestic cups. Plus, Ajax can offer him the chance to shine in the Champions League. In contrast, United will take part in the Europe League this term.
Meanwhile, The Times has given an insight into Cristiano Ronaldo’s meeting with Ten Hag on Wednesday, as all parties aim to find a solution.