Man Utd transfer chiefs admit worrying Antony mistake with two glaring factors leading to panic buy

Manchester United transfer chiefs have reportedly acknowledged that they paid over the odds to sign forward Antony from Ajax last summer.

The Brazilian was brought in for a fee that could rise to £86million but it’s claimed that he has not had the major impact that the Old Trafford hierarchy were really hoping for.

The 22-year-old scored his fifth goal of the season with a stunning strike against Charlton in the Carabao Cup.

However, he was hauled off after an hour of that game and Erik ten Hag branded one previous of showboating by the winger as “ridiculous”.

And while it’s still way too early to consider his signing a potential mistake, club supremos insist the reasoning behind his arrival was sound – as reported in the Daily Mirror.

The report claims that two major factors played a part in United moving for the tricky attacker.

ESPN reports that United scouts did not locate many left-footed options to bolster their attack. Indeed, Antony was only one of three that was shortlisted to sign.

In the end, director of football John Murtough was drawn in by the winger’s desire to link up with Ten Hag again.

The Red Devils were also prepared to pay Ajax’s steep asking price as they feared other European heavyweights would eventually step in and try and sign the player. In effect, that put the Dutch side in complete command during the transfer negotiations.

Ten Hag admitted back in October, after Antony scored in the 2-1 win over Everton, that there was still plenty of room for improvement with the attacker.

“He is a young player we have to develop, but he has to develop himself,” Ten Hag said of Antony. “We have to expect more from him. He needs challenges. That’s why he came to the Premier League.

“He will step up. In the first weeks, he’s scored goals, he did good stuff. But also I see a lot of room for improvement in his game.”

Weghorst signing could Antony output

One player who could potentially help Antony is the proposed signing of target man Wout Weghorst.

The Netherlands international, who is expected to sign on loan from Burnley, would give the Brazilian an option to pick out in the middle – although he is not expected to be a regular starter.

Weghorst will effectively be a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. But, at 6ft 6in, he will give Ten Hag’s side something different down the middle.

But even if United don’t get that deal done, Ten Hag is sure he already has enough firepower on board.

The Dutchman said: “I’m convinced players can do it like Anthony Martial, Bruno Fernandes.

“Alejandro [Garnacho] can do it, Antony can do it. Antony has scored twice in a row, so I think we have enough players to score goals.”

Antony looks a certain starter when United host City in the Manchester derby on Sunday. A victory over Pep Guardiola’s men will see the Red Devils move to within a point of their rivals.

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