Manchester United have done it. The Red Devils and champions of the Netherlands, Ajax have come to terms on signing Brazilian winger Antony in a €100 million deal. The transaction, which equates to around £85.6 million will become official once the conditions, the forward’s examination, and international clearance are completed, which is expected to happen on Tuesday.
This is the biggest transfer of the summer not only for Manchester United, but the entire Europe as well. After months of trying to snatch him and Amsterdam club’s refusal to accept any of the offers on the table, the two sides finally found an agreement. This happened only when United realised they will have to improve their bid, as Ajax held out for the previously set asking price at 100 million euros.
Many were suspicious in July, when those news first broke out, that Ajax decided to go so high in their demands for a player which has scored just 17 Eredivisie goals in the last two Dutch campaigns. It was a move from Ajax which said ‘We want to keep Antony for another year and no club will be ready to go for him at this price’. However, United decided to be that club and overpay for the 22-year-old Brazilian.
Antony was Erik ten Hag’s wish from the day he accepted to become new Manchester United manager. Maybe the likes of Frenkie de Jong got a lot more public attention due to the transfer saga becoming a prolonged and exhausting affair which never materialised, Antony was always in the mix. At one point during the summer, it seemed as if United had given up on signing him and the reports of PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo being on the radar also helped that. But in the end, it was Ten Hag’s wish to sign the Ajax winger instead of the PSV forward.
Now, it will be interesting to see how much United will get out of Antony. He will be expected to deliver right away in his first season, which was always to be the case, considering the transfer fee paid for him. It is obvious this was a move from the Glazer family to keep the fans satisfied after a poor start of the season gave way to new fans’ protests.
But if we look at all of the transfers which were worth 100 million euros or more, we will see clubs often make mistakes. Philippe Coutinho, Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku, Ousmane Dembele and Eden Hazard all proved to be unequivocal mistakes for their clubs. Add Paul Pogba to the mix and we will see United have already done this before. But Antony will do his best to try and be the exception. Huge expectations will be put on his shoulders and it will be intriguing to see whether he can deliver.