Antony: Man Utd told they’ve been ripped off over fee as pundit doubts Erik ten Hag transfer wisdom

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Antony of Brazil during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Mens Football Tournament match between Brazil and Ivory Coast at Nissan Stadium on July 25, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan Credit: PA Images
Antony of Brazil during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Mens Football Tournament match between Brazil and Ivory Coast at Nissan Stadium on July 25, 2021 in Yokohama, Japan Credit: PA Images

Manchester United have been questioned over their decision to pay what will amount to the second highest fee in their history to land Antony from Ajax.

The Brazilian forward has been the subject of intense speculation for a number of weeks, with Erik ten Hag recently making him his No 1 priority. The new United boss has already made four signings this summer, with Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro all signing up.

And the deal for Antony is as good as done too, with Sky Sports reporting the agreement is now in place. However, the transfer is hitting United hard in the pocket with his transfer setting them back around £86m.

That agreement will see the player linking up with ten Hag once again, with Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder firing a parting shot at the player.

Indeed, the Amsterdammers have pushed United all the way over the signing. Having resisted two bids, the Dutch giants seemingly kept raising the bar the nearer the deadline it went.

And having initially valued the player at around the £60m mark, United have been forced to dig deep to get his transfer over the line.

Questioning the wisdom in his signing and the fee paid, pundit Kevin Campbell feels Ajax have had United’s eyes out.

“I’ll tell you what, Ajax can negotiate – can’t they?” Campbell told Football Insider. “They’ve been incredible.

“Man United have got Martinez in for just under £60million – and now Antony has signed for £85-86million.

“That’s a lot of money. The manager knows him, yes, but he hasn’t really got a resume.”

Campbell unconvinced by Antony move by Man Utd

Antony will hope to make his United debut in Sunday’s Premier League clash against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Many eyes will be on him – not just on Sunday – but how he performs over the rest of the season.

United had also chased Cody Gakpo, whose goals and assists record was far superior to Antony last season in the Eredivisie.

Ultimately, Ten Hag has been adamant that it is Antony who should be United’s focus and he will have been delighted to get his man.

That fee will sit second on the club’s all-time biggest transfer signings, just behind the £89.3m spent on Paul Pogba.

Campbell, though, remains unconvinced his signing is a good one for United.

“There’s nothing to suggest he’s going to make the difference for United – goalscoring wise.”

“He doesn’t have that record, although he looks a good player.

“We’ll see – he might hit the ground running and be a superstar. But it’s a hell of a big fee for someone who doesn’t have a great goalscoring record.”

Antony’s behaviour questioned

In forcing through a move, Antony’s behaviour has left something of a sour taste in Ajax’s mouths.

Indeed, he has often been a controversial character during his time in the Netherlands, often hitting headlines for the wrong reasons.

His manager at Ajax, Schreuder will certainly not be sorry to put the saga behind him.

“Certainly. [It’s] not good. It’s a shame it happened,” Schreuder told Voetbal International. “Personally, I just think it’s bad. I think that’s weird. He was eventually addressed about that.

“If you’re Ajax, it’s just bad that this happens. I understand if you’re disappointed for a day or two, but you’re also a professional.

“But within a few days you will understand what is going on. Then I’ll just continue with the guys who are there.”

The signing of Antony will take United’s summer spending through the £214m barrier. While the Glazer family remain a source of anger and annoyance from the United faithful, their backing to managers on the transfer front cannot be questioned.

United, meanwhile, could be looking to balance the books with three more players tipped to leave before Thursday’s 11pm deadline.

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