Man Utd agree to sign Antony from Ajax for £81.3m
Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement to sign Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax.
The deal is for an initial fee of €95m (£81.3m), which will be the fourth most expensive joint signing in Premier League history.
It is subject to a medical formalization, personal conditions and an international authorization.
Antony, 22, scored 24 goals and provided 22 assists in 82 appearances for Ajax.
He joined the Dutch champions from São Paulo in 2020 and played for them under Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.
The deal includes a potential €5m (£4.27m) of add-ons, making him United’s second most expensive signing, ahead of the £80m paid for defender Harry Maguire.
The £89 million was paid for Paul Pogba it remains the club record.
Antony, who contributed seven goals in his 11 Champions League appearances for Ajax, made his international debut for Brazil in October 2021 and has two goals in nine games.
United travel to Leicester City in their next Premier League game on Thursday, but Antony would need to receive a work permit before making an appearance.
As the transfer deadline approaches, there is still speculation if Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at the club after concerns about how the 37-year-old’s mood is affecting morale on the pitch.
Big money signing in record breaking window
In terms of record Premier League signings, only Pogba’s return to United in 2016, Romelu Lukaku’s £97.5m new signing last summer and Manchester City’s British record deal of 100 £millions for Jack Grealish, also in 2021, have cost more.
The striker becomes United’s fifth signing of the summer, following the arrival of his former Ajax team-mate defender Lisandro Martínez, midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid, full-back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and player Christian Eriksen on a free transfer.
United have spent more than £210m this transfer window to shore up new boss Ten Hag, while a number of players including Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Edinson Cavani and Andreas Pereira have left.
Record total spending from all Premier League clubs in this summer transfer window, which closes at 23:00 BST on Thursday, now exceeds £1.6 billion, surpassing the previous record of £1.4 billion in 2017.
United’s summer spending spree takes the Glazer family’s total spend on transfer fees to just €1.9bn (£1.62bn at current exchange rates) under their 17-year ownership, according to figures from Transfermarkt.
In the same period, only Manchester City (2.37 billion euros) and Chelsea (2.19 billion euros) have a higher expenditure on transfers.
United fans have organized multiple you protest against the Americans’ possession in recent years, including before last week’s 2-1 win against Liverpool.
Analysis: “Meaning of the Statement Ten Hag Wanted”
Simon Stone, BBC sports reporter:
That’s the statement Erik ten Hag has wanted to make all summer, and the fee underlines how hard United were trying to satisfy their new manager ahead of Thursday’s deadline.
Predominantly left-handed, Antony likes to cut into the right flank. He has exceptional pace, an ability to create chances out of nowhere and a willingness to work hard.
In a sense, he is very similar to the players who already occupy United’s wide positions.
But it is clear that Ten Hag wants more depth and more quality. He has already discovered that – as a group – the players he inherited were not good enough.
The big question is whether Antony’s arrival will cause a change in the system, or put someone’s place in jeopardy, or both.
And, as always, the debate will be around Ronaldo and how he fits into a team that has even more pace than before.
Reaction: “Spectacular, but not a great goalscorer”
dutch journalist, Marcel van der Kraan, speaking BBC Monday Night Club:
“Former Netherlands national team manager Bert van Marwijk said in his De Telegraaf column that Manchester United will not get a top scorer here. The player never scored more than eight or nine goals in a league season in Eredivisie should have scored more.
“When you look at his transfer fee, you expect a player to score a lot of goals for that, as a striker for Manchester United.
“But Van Marwijk did say he’s a spectacular player. He can create a lot when you have to open up a defence. He’ll give you the assists and put on a show at Old Trafford. That’s what he emphasized because he thinks maybe that will help Ten Hag.
“And at the same time, is he the player who will really put the pressure on when you have to press how Ten Hag wants to play with this team? That’s the big question. Physically he’s only got used to the Dutch Eredivisie so far. since he went leave Brazil
“But he’s a guy with a bit of character, he comes from one of the favelas, he’s had a tough upbringing, he wants to take care of his family and they’re usually the players with a bit of ‘grinta’. [determination] as Lisandro Martínez says, they want to fight for every yard of the pitch.”
BBC pundit and former Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards said:
“He doesn’t meet United’s need for a goalscorer. But did Manchester City need Jack Grealish last summer when they were talking about a striker before they got Erling Haaland? No. But he’s a different body. In the Champions League, Antony was amazing too..
“We can all see that Manchester United need a striker. Bringing in bodies is great for the atmosphere, great for the competition and can only raise the standards of the team. Yes, it may be too much money, but for all that I “I’ve seen it, I think it’s fantastic.
“The manager knows exactly what he can do, he trusts him. They build on that and in the next window then they get a striker. I don’t see any negativity in this deal. I think he will thrive as long as Manchester United play on the front foot.”
Contributor to the BBC Chris Sutton said:
“From Ten Hag’s point of view, he is the strongest in terms of recruiting players when he first comes in. [as United manager] and he is a player that Ten Hag knows. Because of this, there is a lot of pressure on Antony to act because Ten Hag’s judgment will be called into question.
“A lot of money has been spent, but that’s not a problem from Ten Hag’s point of view because they want the best possible player.”