Erik ten Hag passed up the chance to sign Marco Asensio this summer, with a report also revealing what ended the transfer hopes of Arsenal and another Premier League side.
The future of the Spanish international, 26, was a fervent talking point this summer. Asensio has entered the final year of his deal at the Bernabeu and reports from Spain hinted at differing outlooks on his future from within Real Madrid.
Indeed, manager Carlo Ancelotti was stated to be ‘counting’ on his attacker for the current campaign. By contrast, club president, Florentino Perez, was seeking a sale given Asensio could leave for free next summer.
He drew links with Liverpool earlier in the window, but as the months rolled on, Man Utd, Newcastle and Arsenal moved into the picture.
Now, according to El Nacional, both the Gunners and Magpies made approaches for the Real star.
They claim Arsenal ‘fought’ for his signing at the behest of manager Mikel Arteta. They were reportedly prepared to lodge a €30m offer, though the move stalled upon learning of Asensio’s demands.
He reportedly commanded around €7m net in salary per year (approx. £115,000-a-week). That was enough to scare Arsenal away and the result was the same when Newcastle came calling.
Newcastle’s attempts were also hindered by their lack of European football. However, high wages and European football isn’t a problem for Manchester United.
Perez offered Asensio to Man Utd?
Before Erik ten Hag landed Antony, United were desperate to ensure their forward hunt didn’t end in failure.
Christian Pulisic and Cody Gakpo were alternative targets on their radar. Per El Nacional, Florentino Perez personally called Man Utd to offer Asensio to the club.
However, it’s claimed Ten Hag gave the idea short shrift and remained fully focused on reuniting with Antony.
Thankfully for United fans, the Dutch boss got his wish in the final throws of the window.
United right to go big for Antony?
The Red Devils ultimately committed to an outlay that could reach around £86m to sign Antony.
The Athletic’s David Ornstein acknowledged the common consensus is that looks a spectacular overpayment.
However, he also insisted Antony could quickly change people’s tune and make the lofty price tag a subject people ignore.
He said: “It will all come down to what happens on the pitch. If he delivers I think people will very quickly change their tune.
“[If] he does what Ten Hag thinks he can do and what Man Utd want him to do… if he helps them back into the Champions League and makes them a competitive force this season, you tend to see the narrative and discourse start to change and people say ‘He’s worth every penny’.
“[It’s] one to reserve judgement on. But as a player and as a recruit, you’ve got to say fair play.
“I think United have had an expensive but pretty impressive window.”