Manchester United's investigations prior to signing Antony failed to reveal assault allegations

Manchester United's Antony
Antony is on paid leave from United while he fights allegations against him - PA/John Walton

Manchester United were unaware that a police report for an alleged assault on a woman had been filed against Antony more than three months before the club signed the Brazil winger for £85 million from Ajax, Telegraph Sport has learned.

Rayssa de Freitas filed a complaint to Sao Paulo Civil Police in May 2022 in which she alleged she was attacked by Antony and a woman after an argument in a car following a night out in Brazil.

De Freitas, a law student, claimed she required hospital treatment in the wake of the alleged incident. Antony strenuously denies the allegations.

United say they carried out due diligence checks on Antony as they do all transfer targets before signing him but that their investigations unearthed no evidence of any domestic abuse allegations or police involvement regarding the player and believe the information was only accessible to a very small pool of people.

It is understood the police report has since been retracted in full.

The club only became aware of the police report via media reports in Brazil this month when they were also shared by Antony’s representatives.

De Freitas and the other woman in the car accused each other of assault. De Freitas initially accused Antony of assault but she is understood to have subsequently withdrawn the allegation.

Antony, 23, played for two seasons under Erik ten Hag, now the United manager, at Ajax before his move to Old Trafford on Sept. 1 last year saw him become the 13th most expensive player in the world at the time.

The Brazil winger is currently on paid leave from United while he fights allegations against him.

Police in Manchester and Sao Paulo are investigating claims Antony subjected a former girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin to a number of attacks between June last year and May last year. Antony vehemently denies the allegations.

The De Freitas case is not the first time United’s due diligence checks on players failed to throw up concerns.

In 2014, United signed then Argentina defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon for £16 million.

But United were unaware that Rojo was being investigated by police at the time for an alleged bottle attack on two men in Argentina.

Rojo was facing the threat of a criminal trial but it was not until a member of staff typed the player’s name in Google to find out more about the new signing that the club became aware of the situation. Rojo settled out of court and the case was dropped.

This month, it emerged that the first manager of United’s women’s team, Geoff Konopka, was a special guest at a game at Old Trafford last year and commemorated in the club museum, despite being a convicted paedophile and having an active suspension on the Football Association’s safeguarding system.

United said they had removed all mention of Konopka from museum displays and would have no further connection with the individual after learning of his convictions and had referred the situation “as a matter of urgency” to the relevant legal and football authorities.