Ten Hag savaged over big Man Utd transfer mistake with deals for Leeds, Arsenal stars deemed superior

Erik ten Hag, Man Utd manager, during pre-season friendly - Manchester United v Rayo Vallecano - Old Trafford

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been told he made a huge mistake over one of his biggest ever signings for the Red Devils, with the Dutchman paying way over the odds for the player.

United are very much on an upward trajectory under the Dutchman. They are currently third in the Premier League table and already have their hands on silverware in the Carabao Cup. They could yet add to that too, with United well placed to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League to go with their last-eight spot in the FA Cup.

Ten Hag underwent a severe review of United’s playing staff last summer. He allowed several stars to leave at the end of their contracts, while also bringing in six new signings during the summer window.

And while Martin Dubravka has since left, the other five have all played their parts in United’s improvements.

There is probably no one new signing more important to the Man Utd cause than Casemiro. The Brazilian has proved an excellent addition and well worth the £70m paid for his services.

And Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez, Antony and Tyrell Malacia have also played their parts this season.

However, Ten Hag has now been called out over his decision to pay a near club-record fee for Antony.

The Brazilian was one of Ten Hag’s go-to players during their time together at Ajax.

And while he has caught the eye with his dazzling skills, tricks and flicks, his output is not as high as expected for an £86m capture.

Indeed, the Brazilian has just seven goals and one assist to his name from 28 appearances so far.

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Ten Hag told fee Man Utd paid for Antony was a mistake

With the fee paid, the 23-year-old is United’s second costliest ever signing behind Paul Pogba.

The price was some distance higher than the £50m originally quoted too. That’s with Ajax keen to drive up his price having already lost Ten Hag and Martinez.

Nonetheless, Ten Hag was persistent and ultimately got his man.

However, PSV director of football Marcel Brands says he was staggered United continued to pursue his signing given the costs involved.

And citing the £45m package Arsenal paid for Gabriel Jesus, and the £58m Barcelona signed Raphinha for from Leeds, Brands is adamant there was much better value for money out there.

“If you compare it with transfers that were realistic, such as that of Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City to Arsenal: that was also around that rate,” he said, via Voetbal Primeur.

“Those are normal amounts. I think everyone in football knows that Antony was a madness.

“I think Raphinha (Leeds United to Barcelona) is an even better player than Antony, but he left for much less.”

Antony could face a renewed fight for a place in the United attack next season if Ten Hag brings in another striker.

And with Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri and Alejandro Garnacho also options, more questions could be posed on Ten Hag’s decision to spend so big on the Brazilian.

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