Man Utd interest in PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo may not be all it appears, with a report detailing the winger’s role in the Antony transfer saga.
The Red Devils are determined to land a versatile new winger before the September 1 deadline slams shut. Christian Pulisic had been linked amid talk of a surprise loan switch from Chelsea. However, those rumours quickly came and went, with Eredivisie pair Cody Gakpo and Antony quickly re-taking centre stage.
PSV Eindhoven’s Gakpo could reportedly be available for around the £35m mark.
PSV were unwilling to entertain any offers until their Champions League fate was determined. Following their 1-0 defeat to Rangers on Wednesday night, a Europa League campaign now awaits where they’ll face Arsenal after today’s draw.
Caught Offside reported United had struck an agreement over personal terms with the 23-year-old. However, according to the Manchester Evening News, the Gakpo pursuit isn’t what it seems.
Their reporter, Samuel Luckhurst, wrote sources have suggested interest in Gakpo ‘has been whipped up in an attempt to pressure Ajax into selling Antony’.
The inference there is Man Utd do not want to look like they only have one target in mind. If Ajax believe it’s Antony or nothing, they’ll be firm in their stance and hold out for as much as they can – if indeed they do sell.
In contrast, if Ajax believe United’s interest in Gakpo is genuine, they may sell Antony for fear of missing out on a huge payday if Manchester United ultimately spend their money elsewhere.
Antony signs pointing to Old Trafford?
Antony has always been labelled Erik ten Hag’s primary focus for the wings. Furthermore, he became the club’s No 1 transfer target once Casemiro signed from Real Madrid.
A £67.6m bid has already been lodged and was duly rejected. However, an improved bid is understood to be in the works.
Ajax value the Brazilian around the €100m (approx. £85m) mark. However, having already seen many of their finest assets poached this summer, they’re in no mood to sell for less than market value.
From the player’s perspective, Antony is deemed dead set on linking back up with Ten Hag. An agreement over personal terms has been in place for over 10 days.
What’s more, Dutch reporter, Mike Vermijl, stated Antony is already house-hunting in the Cheshire area.
Clearly, Antony to Man Utd is one to watch in the coming days and all eyes will be on the size of United’s next bid.
Is Antony worth the money?
After committing to £70m for the 30-year-old Casemiro, questions have already been asked as to whether United are overpaying this summer.
Indeed, Sky Sports reporter, Kaveh Solhekol, queried if Antony is actually worth the £85m Ajax crave, and pointed to the fact United are the only bidder when suggesting he isn’t.
He said earlier this week: “How much do Ajax want for Antony? How good is this guy? Do Manchester United need him?
“Every night we’re hearing United are going to go back for him, and that Ajax have already turned down €80m (£67.6m) for him.
“If you look at his record, he scored eight league goals in the Eredivisie last season. The season before that he scored nine.
“Is he a €100m player? Who else is trying to sign him? Are Real Madrid and PSG in for him?”
However, if anyone knows what’s best for a Ten Hag-managed United, it’s Ten Hag himself. The Dutchman clearly trusts Antony and at 22, his prime years lay ahead.
With United still in desperate need of reinforcements, overpaying for Antony is clearly the lesser of two evils compared with signing no new winger at all.