Erik ten Hag would seek to bring Ajax forward Antony to Man Utd if appointed their next manager, though two Dutch ex-pros have explained why that’s a risk.
Ten Hag has emerged as the favourite to succeed Ralf Rangnick in the Old Trafford dugout. The Dutchman held an official interview with Manchester United bosses on Monday and the subjects of budget, transfer targets and the overarching project were discussed.
The interview reportedly left both Ten Hag and United with some doubts. Nevertheless, he remains the No1 choice among the club’s fanbase.
Whether the fans get their wish, however, only time will tell. Fabrizio Romano recently confirmed Ten Hag is the subject of interest from two other elite European sides.
Now, a fresh report from the Telegraph has indicated one of Ten Hag’s first priorities if appointed by United would be to bring Ajax attacker Antony with him.
The 22-year-old Brazil international has bagged 12 goals and 10 assists across all competitions this season. He is also a regular in the national side having made eight appearances since making his debut in 2021.
The report states Ten Hag would be ‘interested’ in re-uniting with Antony at Manchester United. That may be an opportunity the club must take quickly with the winger ‘earning a growing band of admirers’.
The Manchester Evening News recently claimed central midfield will be the club’s priority in the market this summer. Though given the uncertainty around their forward line, an Antony arrival would make sense.
Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard will both leave as free agents this summer. Doubts persist over the long-term futures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Anthony Martial, while Marcus Rashford’s form has plummeted this season. Mason Greenwood also remains unavailable for the foreseeable future.
Antony slammed for “idiot” behaviour
An Antony swoop would therefore make sense, though it would not be a risk-free deal. There have long been doubts regarding Antony’s mindset and dependability on the pitch.
In Ajax’s come-from-behind victory over Feyenoord on March 20, Antony scored a late 86th-minute winner. He celebrated the goal by removing his shirt and thus received a yellow card.
Antony then saw red moments later when brandished a second yellow card to leave Ajax a man light for the final moments.
That drew the ire of two former Dutch internationals – Rene van der Gijp and Wim Kieft.
Erik ten Hag and Manchester United hold talks about manager position
Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has met with Manchester United and had positive talks about becoming the new Man United manager
Van der Gijp said: “Suppose we are in the stands together as a scout for Manchester City or Liverpool… And we are looking at Antony, what do you think we would say when we come back on Monday?
“We will not take that. You don’t see a Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane or Mohamed Salah doing this? Then you can say: he is young, but it can also get crazier.”
Kieft added: “He is not that young anymore, because he has been doing this for two years. Such a boy cannot be calmed by a coach, in the end.
“Ten Hag will of course never say that Antony behaves like an idiot, but he thinks so. In general, this behaviour is addressed in the locker room, then someone says: hey, what are you doing?”