Erik ten Hag is reportedly pressing the Manchester United hierarchy to step up their attempts to strike a double deal with Ajax after Frenkie de Jong ruled out a move to Old Trafford.
Ten Hag is desperately trying to shake up a squad that slumped to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last term, but the Dutchman was dealt a major blow on Saturday when it emerged that De Jong has now ‘totally ruled out’ a switch to England.
De Jong was one of Ten Hag’s most important players at Ajax before Barcelona swooped for his services back in 2019, and the new United chief had identified the midfield maestro as his No 1 summer transfer target.
However, a recent report from The Times has indicated that Ten Hag has wasted no time in pressing the United leadership to boost the ante in their attempt to pry both Antony and Martinez away from Ajax instead. With De Jong now appearing to be unachievable.
The two were integral members of the Ajax team that won the Eredivisie championship last season under Ten Hag, and both are eager to work with him again in the Premier League.
Martinez is being courted by both United and Arsenal. United has already submitted an updated offer for Martinez for €50 million (£42.3 million). Nevertheless, United’s €60 million (£50.8 million) offer for Antony, who registered 12 goals and 10 assists in all competitions last season, falls €20 million (£16.9 million) shy of Ajax’s asking price.
The Dutch giants are sticking to their guns and would prefer to source replacements for both players before giving any move the green light.
As well as trying to thrash out a double deal with Ajax for Antony and Martinez, Ten Hag is also trying to beat the Amsterdam outfit to a deal for Brian Brobbey. The 21-year-old striker – who came through the ranks at Ajax under Ten Hag – was being lined up for a permanent return to the Dutch champions.
But United are interested in hijacking a deal for Brobbey after Cristiano Ronaldo revealed that he wants to quit the club this summer in order to join a club who can offer him Champions League football.
The Portuguese superstar topped United’s scoring charts last season with 24 goals in all competitions, and sourcing a replacement for the 37-year-old will be Ten Hag’s top priority if a switch away materialises in the coming weeks.