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A closer look at Manchester United target Antony

A closer look at Manchester United target Antony
© Reuters
Sports Mole takes a closer look at Ajax attacker Antony, who continues to be heavily linked with Manchester United.

Manchester United continue to be strongly linked with Ajax attacker Antony, with the Red Devils expected to step up their interest once they completed a deal for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong.

Antony's future has been the subject of much speculation this summer following his impressive performances for Ajax during the 2021-22 campaign, with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain among the clubs said to be admirers of his talents.

However, Man United are seemingly at the head of the queue for the 22-year-old, who is said to be keen on a reunion with new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

With that in mind, Sports Mole has taken a closer look at Antony, who has enjoyed two impressive seasons for Ajax after arriving from Brazilian football.

Ajax winger Antony pictured in September 2021© Reuters

The Brazilian came through the youth system at Sao Paulo, spending eight years in their youth system before making his first-team debut in 2018.

Antony went on to make 52 appearances for the Brazilian side in all competitions, and his form in 2019 earned him a switch to Ajax, with the Dutch outfit signing him in February 2020 for a fee in the region of £14m.

The forward scored 10 times and registered 10 assists in 46 appearances during his first season in Amsterdam, playing an important role in their Eredivisie title success.

Antony was again in excellent form last term, scoring 12 goals and registering 10 assists in 33 appearances in all competitions, including eight goals and four assists in their title-winning league campaign.

The South American also scored twice and provided four assists in seven Champions League appearances, as Ajax reached the last-16 stage of the competition before losing to Benfica.

Ajax attacker Antony pictured in September 2021© Reuters

Antony had standout performances in the group stage against Sporting Lisbon and Borussia Dortmund, providing two assists in both matches, but his campaign ended in March, missing his side's last seven league matches due to an ankle injury that he picked up while representing Brazil against Bolivia.

"He is still recovering from his injury. But I think the next few weeks are important. For his injury, we hope it improves quickly. I assume that he will be fit at the end of the preparation," Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder recently told ESPN when asked for an update on his fitness.

Antony has featured on nine occasions for Brazil, scoring twice in the process, and he is in a strong position to make the squad for the 2022 World Cup.

Man United had allegedly initially thought that Ajax would accept around £40m for the attacker, but according to Dutch journalist Marcel van der Kraan, the Dutch giants want double that amount.

"Antony, for instance, is worth £80m in the eyes of Ajax. The prices they are asking for are absolutely huge because they have no need to sell. They know Man United, like many clubs in Europe at this moment, need players. So it's a very awkward position Manchester United are in at the moment," Van der Kraan told Sky Sports News.

"Antony, he (Ten Hag) thinks is a great player but he knows he is too expensive at this moment, and that Frenkie de Jong is much more of an important player for him than Antony."

Ajax attacker Antony pictured in February 2022© Reuters

"I want to thank you for everything you taught me. Know that I will always stand with you if you need me," Antony posted on social media when Ten Hag left to take the Red Devils job.

Antony primarily operates as a right-sided forward, which has been a problem position for Man United over the last few seasons, with Jadon Sancho, who was signed to fill that area, playing his best football off the left during the second half of the 2021-22 campaign.

The Red Devils are believed to be keen to sign a new centre-forward following Edinson Cavani's departure but could instead bring in Antony and play him in a front three alongside Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Marcus Rashford also competing for a spot in the side.

Antony has demonstrated his quality at Ajax over the last two seasons and is now seemingly ready to make the step-up once again, but Man United could spend the bulk of their transfer budget on Frenkie de Jong, and it remains to be seen whether they can bring the Dutch side's asking price down.

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Ajax winger Antony pictured in September 2021
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