Manchester United in talks over potential move for Ajax's Antony

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Ajax's Brazilian forward Antony (L) fights for the ball against Vitesse's Slovak midfielder Matus Bero during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and Vitesse Arnhem at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on September 26, 2020. - AFP
Ajax's Brazilian forward Antony (L) fights for the ball against Vitesse's Slovak midfielder Matus Bero during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and Vitesse Arnhem at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam on September 26, 2020. - AFP

Manchester United have held talks over a potential move for the Ajax forward Antony but are waiting for a breakthrough in negotiations with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong before advancing other deals.

Telegraph Sport reported in early April how Erik Ten Hag was interested in bringing Antony to Old Trafford after a successful spell together at Ajax and United have been busy gauging the 22-year-old Brazil winger’s interest and the cost of any prospective deal.

Ryan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui have already left Ajax for Bayern Munich this summer and there is a growing expectation that Antony - who has attracted interest from across Europe - will be among other anticipated departures at the Dutch club over the next couple of months.

United hope to help fund attacking reinforcements by offloading Anthony Martial but the France forward’s £200,000 a week wages are an obstacle and his poor form on loan at Sevilla during the second half of last season has not helped matters.

New United manager Ten Hag wants quality competition for Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga in attack and Antony, who offers pace, creativity and a goalscoring threat, is most at home on the right flank, what for years has been a problem area for United. The ongoing situation with Mason Greenwood has been another complicating factor in United’s plans.

United’s absolute priority this summer is to bolster the midfield and they remain hopeful of getting a deal over the line for De Jong, despite protracted discussions with Barcelona for the Netherlands international.

With Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata having all been released, United are also keen to sign the Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen on a free transfer in addition to De Jong.

With De Jong and his particular skill set considered key to Ten Hag’s plans to evolve the team, United are sitting tight for now. They know they cannot wait indefinitely for the player but there are still another 17 days before the squad is due to fly to Bangkok for the start of their pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.

The first wave of United players will start to report back for pre-season from Monday, including Rashford, but those who were involved in international matches this month are not due back until shortly before the squad fly to Bangkok.

Ten Hag would like up to five signings, depending on how far United can stretch their budget, with the club also interested in a right back and a centre half. United are willing to listen to offers for the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly.

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