Manchester United are interested in signing Gabriel Barbosa from Flamengo in January and the deal could see Antony sent in the opposite direction, a report has claimed.
A new centre-forward might be on the agenda for Man Utd midway through the season, since summer signing Rasmus Hojlund is still yet to score in the Premier League. The club’s form under Erik ten Hag has been majorly disappointing so far in 2023-24, which highlights how they need to strengthen.
Hojlund was always intended to be a long-term project for Man Utd to work with, but if they need a more senior striker to rotate him with, they will have to dip back into the transfer market.
According to the Daily Mirror, one target they have now got their eyes on is Barbosa. Since his contract runs out at the end of 2024, Flamengo might make him available for £20m.
Barbosa previously played in Europe for Inter and Benfica, flopping at both destinations. However, his form since going back to Brazil has been much better.
At the age of 27, he might be ready for another crack at making it in Europe, having long since attracted some Premier League clubs. Now, Man Utd might make a bid for him in January.
As part of their offer, the report claims Man Utd would be willing to send Antony on loan to Flamengo, who are interested in taking the former Sao Paulo prospect back to his native country.
There have been serious question marks over Antony since Ten Hag encouraged Man Utd to bring him in from Ajax last summer. The winger has struggled to justify his asking price, despite working under the same coach he had in the Eredivisie.
Antony remains under contract at Old Trafford until 2027, but it is claimed that Man Utd would be willing to sanction his temporary departure.
It could be the key to them winning the race for Barbosa, who is also of interest to AC Milan in a move that, if successful, could rub salt into Inter’s wounds after his previous poor spell in Serie A.
Man Utd expand striker shortlist
That said, the man often referred to is Gabigol is not the only centre-forward on Man Utd’s shortlist. The Mirror mentions Victor Osimhen (Napoli), Ivan Toney (Brentford) and Medhi Taremi (Porto) as some of the other big names on their radar.
Some of those might come with premium price tags, though, whereas they could get Barbosa for less than his market value due to his contract situation.
The question is whether he could adapt to the Premier League quickly enough after never playing in England before. After all, Hojlund – although a work in progress as someone who was never particularly prolific for Atalanta in Serie A either – is also a newcomer to English football this season.