It’s been a slow and frustrating month since the end of the Premier League campaign for Manchester United, with not a single player signed as a number of their top six rivals have already splashed the cash.
However, that could be set to change, following reports that club officials have traveled to Amsterdam to negotiate a deal for Ajax winger Antony, with the Red Devils now set to drop a £40million offer according to ESPN in Holland.
As Erik ten Hag looks to land his first signing this summer, Football Mirror tells you everything you need to know about the Brazilian winger, including why United want him, how he played last season and what has been said about him.
Who is Anthony?
Antony Matheus dos Santos, or simply known as Antony, currently plays as a winger for 2021/22 Eredivisie champions Ajax and the Brazil national team, for whom he has produced a number number of impressive performances to become one of Europe’s hottest young talents.
The 22-year-old, born on February 24, 2000 in the Osasco region of Sao Paulo, rose through the ranks of the club’s academy in his hometown after joining as an eight-year-old in 2010, before making his first team appearance in November 2018. and eventually joining Ajax just 18 months later in February 2020.
Internationally, the 5ft 9in winger has represented the Brazil Under-23 team since 2019 and has played for them as recently as the postponed 2020 Summer Olympics last summer, while he made his debut for the senior side just two months later, and so far scored two goals in nine appearances for the Selecao.
What kind of impact do you think Antony would have at Man Utd under Erik ten Hag? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Career so far
After winning the J League Challenge tournament in Japan with the youngsters of Sao Paulo in 2018 and being voted the tournament’s best player, Antony signed a five-year contract with the first team in September of the same year. After three appearances that season, the 22-year-old scored six goals in 45 appearances in the 2019 campaign to earn himself a move to Ajax.
The Brazilian agreed a five-year deal for an initial £13million in February 2020 and started his first season at the club with 10 goals and 10 assists as Ajax completed the league and cup double. In his last campaign, Antony showed no signs of slowing down after registering another 12 goals and 10 assists to claim a second Eredivisie title.
Antony also scored six goals in 23 appearances for Brazil Under-23s and helped them win the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan last summer. He only made his senior debut eight months ago, in which he scored in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Venezuela, before adding a second goal to his tally against Paraguay in February.
Erwin Spek/Getty Images)
As mentioned, Antony continued to produce impressive numbers for Ajax last season as they won a second consecutive Eredivisie title, in which the 22-year-old netted 12 goals and 10 assists in 32 games in all competitions. , according to the transfer market, despite his absence. the last nine games of the campaign with an ankle injury.
At just 5ft 9in tall, Antony’s game relies heavily on his technical ability, as well as his speed and acceleration to beat his opponents. According to WhoScored.com, the Brazilian averaged 1.8 dribbles per game, with only Paul Pogba recording more for Man Utd (2), and was fouled an average of 1.3 times per game in 23 appearances in Eredivisie last season.
On top of that, the 22-year-old has also averaged 1.6 key passes per game, only surpassed by Bruno Fernandes (2.5) and Luke Shaw (2) for the Red Devils, as well as an impressive 3 .4 total shots per game in the Dutch top flight in 2021/22, with Cristiano Ronaldo (3.7) the only player in Ralf Rangnick’s side to have a better rating.
What Ten Hag said about him
New United manager Ten Hag knows Antony all too well from their two seasons together at Ajax, as they won the league and cup double in their first season together, before retaining the Eredivisie title last season, and now the Dutchman wants to continue their partnership at Old Trafford.
Speaking to Dutch outlet De Telegraaf earlier this year about the Brazilian and fellow United player Jurrien Timber, Ten Hag said: “I think all the top clubs in Europe have Timber in their sights. But I think that currently applies to a lot of Ajax players. If Antony were to leave, it would be a loss for Ajax, because you don’t have anyone in the current squad who can take his place. He is first class.
And following Antony’s red card against Feyenoord in March, Ten Hag also said, according to the Manchester Evening News: “Unnecessarily, he still has to learn that. But I’m also happy to have players who have character. You You need it too. He’s still young, but don’t forget he’s got an amazing kick too.