After Saturday’s abysmal 4-0 defeat at Brentford, Manchester United’s weekend has been tough enough. But while plenty of fans have aimed their frustration at the club’s lack of recruitment in Erik ten Hag’s first transfer window, an unsuccessful target is rubbing salt into the wounds.
Manchester United have so far failed Ten Hag this summer after he inherited a squad that had just lost six first-team players on free transfers. The captures of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez for a combined £72million have fallen some way short of the backing he required ahead of his maiden season.
The Dutchman is yet to bolster his forward line but is understood to want two new additions before the deadline. United fumbled Darwin Nunez at Liverpool’s feet and missed out on his priority winger target Antony after Ajax priced the 22-year-old out of a move to Old Trafford.
Ajax reportedly demanded £67m for Antony initially, but after losing more of their key stars, including Martinez, they told United that they wouldn’t accept any approach worth less than £84m in total. And links have since gone cold, suggesting the Red Devils have taken their search elsewhere in the final weeks of the window.
But Antony showcased exactly what United are missing in the first half of Ajax’s Dutch Eredivisie clash with Groningen on Sunday afternoon. The Brazilian first flaunted stunning skill to beat three players at once as he entered the box from the right and fired a shot off early in the match.
Then, just before the half-hour mark, with the score at 1-1, Antony fired the hosts back ahead with a signature left-footed strike from the right flank. After picking the ball up midway into Groningen’s half, he carried the ball to the outside of the box before cutting inside and curling an unstoppable strike into the far top corner.
Stop that, Antony! 🔥pic.twitter.com/Dqzje28b9O
— Football Transfers (@Transfersdotcom) August 14, 2022
World class ANTONY pic.twitter.com/dYP4jUYgL0
— LPDD (@ligaptdadepre_) August 14, 2022
Manchester United’s limited budget after missing out on Champions League football takes a big-money move for Antony, as well as their hopeful £72m capture of Frenkie de Jong off the table. The only plausible way Ten Hag would be able to reunite with the electric winger this summer is if he brutally misses out on De Jong.
His pursuit of attacking reinforcements has landed elsewhere in the Netherlands, though, with United eyeing a move for PSV Eindhoven winger Cody Gakpo. However, missing out on acquiring Antony earlier this summer has only added to the continuous blows on and off the pitch at the dawn of his reign.