Football News

Why Manchester United decided to ‘overpay’ for Antony, explained by ex-Sao Paulo chief

By James Amey

Published: 11:51, 1 September 2022

Head coach Erik ten Hag has finally got his man, as Antony takes Manchester United’s summer spending to over £200m. 

Five weeks after raiding his former side for Lisandro Martinez, Erik ten Hag has returned to Ajax to bring highly rated winger Antony to Manchester after weeks of back and forth between the two sides.

The 22-year old joins on a four-year deal for a reported £85m fee and is the fifth signing of the summer after Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Casemiro and the aforementioned Lisandro Martinez to walk through the doors at Old Trafford.

The Brazilian becomes the fourth most expensive signing in Premier League history after Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and Jack Grealish and comes highly rated, not just by his manager, but by Brazil men’s national team coach.

Tite values Antony for his “velvet feet” while BBC also report how Neymar is taking Antony under his wing on the international stage. During a Conmebol World Cup qualifier where Antony was asked to pass the ball more, they quote Neymar as saying on the pitch, “No, let the kid dribble and do his own thing!”

Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder said Antony is the latest example of a big club laying out a “crazy amount” to get their target in today’s football market, but former Sao Paulo executive director Alexandre Passaro believes the winger has unique qualities that left Ten Hag so eager to be reunited.

“It may seem like he’s just a 22-year-old boy, that things are moving too fast for him and he doesn’t have much experience. But I can tell you one thing: every coach that works with him doesn’t want to let him go. It has happened with Ten Hag, but with other coaches in Brazil like Andre Jardine and Tite. 

“They have a different perception of Antony because they know the phenomenon that he is in the daily work, the absurd things that he does with the ball, how talented he is.

“He’s the kind of player that delivers what you need and gives you no trouble. It would obviously be highly unlikely that a team like Manchester City or Tottenham paid the same money for him, but Ten Hag knows what he’s getting.” He told the BBC

The Brazilian was directly involved in 47 goals for the Dutch giants in 134 games across all competitions during his time in Amsterdam and is excited to reunite with his former manager.

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“Playing under Erik ten Hag at Ajax was perfect for me and my development. His style of football and coaching brings out the best in me, and I am excited by what he has told me about his plans and ambitions in Manchester. He told the club’s official website.

“This is an incredible moment in my career to be joining one of the most iconic clubs in the world. I’m thankful to everyone who has believed in me, especially my family, and all my coaches and team-mates, because I could not have got here without them. 

“My time at Ajax was fantastic and I will always be grateful for the trust they put in me, but now I am ready for the next challenge, and I can’t wait to join my new team-mates and play my part in bringing success to Manchester United.”

Antony will miss his side’s game with Leicester this evening, but will be available to face Arsenal on Sunday. The Brazilian will be hoping to get off to the perfect start and help the Red Devils will end the Gunners unbeaten run.