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Erik ten Hag 'wants Antony as Cristiano Ronaldo replacement'

Erik ten Hag 'wants Antony as Cristiano Ronaldo replacement'
© Reuters
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has reportedly identified Ajax attacker Antony as a possible replacement for the unsettled Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has reportedly identified Ajax attacker Antony as a possible replacement for the unsettled Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Red Devils have allegedly been asked by Ronaldo's camp to listen to offers for the Portugal international this summer, with the 37-year-old keen to leave in order to move to a Champions League club.

Man United are believed to have reiterated that the forward will not be allowed to leave, but he could force an exit in the coming weeks.

According to The Mirror, the 20-time English champions are preparing for life after Ronaldo, and the club's new head coach Ten Hag wants Antony as a replacement for the veteran.

The report claims that Man United had feared being priced out of a deal for the Brazil international, with the Dutch outfit believed to value him between £70m and £80m.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Manchester United in March 2022© Reuters

However, an exit for Ronaldo this summer would see the Red Devils save in excess of £500,000 a week in wages, while they would also demand a transfer fee for the forward, who still has 12 months left to run on his contract, with the option of a further year.

Ten Hag will allegedly 'put pressure' on Man United to spend if Ronaldo departs, despite the club already committing to deals for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong, Feyenoord's Tyrell Malacia and Ajax's Lisandro Martinez.

Antony was in impressive form under Ten Hag at Ajax 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.

"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.

In total, he has represented his Dutch side on 78 occasions since arriving from Sao Paulo in July 2020, contributing 22 goals and 20 assists in the process.

Ajax attacker Antony pictured in February 2022© Reuters

Antony has not played since March, though, with an ankle injury ruling him out of the final months of last season, and he is still recovering from the problem.

"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.

A number of clubs are believed to be keen to sign Ronaldo this summer, with Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Sporting Lisbon thought to be in the hunt for his signature.

The Portuguese is said to be determined to once again play in the Champions League next season and is frustrated by Man United's lack of transfer business during the summer market.

Ronaldo is due back in pre-season training with the Red Devils on Monday, while the team are due to fly to Thailand on Friday for the start of their 2022 Tour.

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Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo applauds fans after the match, January 3, 2022
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