Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Manchester United Remain Keen On This Ajax Sensation: Why Ten Hag Must Make It Happen

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Manchester United are still keen on Antony despite Ajax’s reluctance to let their prized asset depart. The Red Devils have already tabled a bid for the Brazilian attacker which, however, is far short of the valuation set by his current employers, as claimed by Goal in a recent report.

The 22-year-old Selecao international progressed through the academy ranks of Sao Paulo. He eventually earned a first-team status for his hometown side in November 2018 and was eventually roped in by the Dutch giants for a fee in the region of £13m (which could potentially rise to £18.2m based on performance, appearances and achievements).

Erik ten Hag, the former Ajax boss, handed him a starting role down the wide. He soon attuned to the demands of European football and went on to fire in 23 goals as well as 20 assists in 79 appearances over the past two seasons. His emergence grabbed the attention of many high-profile clubs, including Manchester United, particularly after Ten Hag’s appointment as the new Red Devils chief.

Manchester United target Antony in action for Ajax
Ajax’s Brazilian forward Antony Matheus Dos Santos (L) fights for the ball with Benfica’s Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez during the UEFA Champions League football match between SL Benfica and Ajax at the Luz stadium in Lisbon on February 23, 2022. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Why Manchester United Must Step up Interest

Meanwhile, the English giants are desperate to bounce back after a dreadful 2021-22 campaign. The Dutchman is commanding their recruitment drive to reconstruct the squad and has so far brought in players whom he has either managed or monitored during his time in the Eredivisie. Their pressing game during pre-season has revitalized the Old Trafford faithful, and the gaffer, therefore, is chasing names who would fit in his style of play week in week out.

While he has brought in Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and scripted a reunion with former Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, a move for Antony relies on whether they step up interest in the coming days. Their offer of around £51m has been rejected by de Godenzonen as they are still holding out for £68m, which must be met. United might place a new bid in due time but are not prepared to meet the asking fee just yet.

Man United have Jadon Sancho, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga, who all are likely to be deployed from the flanks. Meanwhile, Mason Greenwood, though released on bail, has been suspended by the club following his imprisonment for assaulting a woman. Cristiano Ronaldo is eyeing an exit in order to attain Champions League football and the manager might eventually consider Martial and Rashford as his ‘number 9’ options. Antony, on the right, would restore depth and offer quality in the attacking third, but it remains to be seen whether they secure the services of the Brazilian youngster.

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