Manchester United have seen a second, improved bid worth £76.3m rejected for Antony – and a third and final offer to land the Brazilian may not still be enough with Ajax seemingly determined to hold firm.
United boss Erik ten Hag has endured a difficult summer on the transfer front. While he has made four big-name signings, he has seen efforts to land other players – most notably Frenkie de Jong – drag on for far too long. And now it seems he faces similar frustration in his bid to bring Antony in from Ajax.
However, unlike De Jong, Antony is actually eager to make the move. The problem for United is that Ajax are not in much of a mood to entertain another departure of a prized asset to United.
The Dutch giants have already seen former boss Erik ten Hag swoop to sign Lisandro Martinez. And with their attack already lighter following Sebastien Haller’s move to Dortmund, they can ill afford another exit up front.
Of course, money talks and United are determined to present a package to Ajax that leaves them with no choice but to cash in. To that end, they reportedly have placed a prohibitive £79.6m fee on his head.
All the same, United are determined to press on. And amid claims Antony has already agreed a five-year deal with United, the Red Devils are seemingly determined to land their man.
Having seen an opening bid fail earlier this summer, De Telegraaf now reports United have seen a second bid rejected too.
The Netherlands-based newspaper claims United’s second offer, worth £76.3m (€90m), arrived on Friday afternoon. However, Ajax have instantly rebuffed the offer, with the bid deemed ‘not enough’ to tempt them to sell the Brazilian.
United pondering third offer for Antony
That offer, as it stands, would represent a record sale for Ajax. Furthermore, it would also be the highest fee United have ever paid for an attacker.
It seems, however, that United are not ready to admit defeat and will reportedly raise the stakes even higher. Quite how high they are prepared to go, though, remains to be seen. There will surely come a point, that said, when Ajax will simply be unable to turn down such vast sums.
De Telegraaf, however, does offer a reasoning behind Ajax’s refusal to sell. With just days left in the transfer window, they would need to bring in a replacement for the 22-year-old.
Their preferred option, in that regard, is Hakim Ziyech. Their former star looks likely to leave Chelsea this summer after falling down the pecking order under Thomas Tuchel. However, the Blues are sticking a hefty £37m asking price on his head.
And while Ajax have made known their interest, they are currently unable to strike a deal with Chelsea. As such, it seems Ajax are unwilling to sanction the sale of Antony until they have secured a deal for Ziyech first.
To that end, Ajax will hope to strike a deal with Chelsea for the Moroccan. However, should they fail to do so, it would place United’s hopes over Antony in some doubt.
The issue is more complex amid claims Ziyech reportedly fancies a move to Tottenham. Per reports in the Netherlands, Ziyech is angling to make the move across London to Spurs, apparently seeing a return to Ajax as a failure.
Star desperate for Old Trafford move
However, United do retain hope they can still land their man. The player is reportedly desperate to move to Old Trafford and has made that clear to Ajax. As a result, Antony missed last weekend’s 1-0 win against Sparta Rotterdam amid speculation over his future. And the player continues to train alone, meaning he also looks likely to miss Ajax’s match at FC Utrecht on Sunday.
Clearly the situation cannot continue for Ajax and it seems unlikely they will keep an unhappy player.
Another Holland-based publication, De Volkskrant, claims Antony ‘will be angry’ if his move to United does not succeed. Furthermore, the player is willing to ‘seek conflict’ with Ajax in order to push through the potential move.
De Volkskrant, however, does give United some hope. They claim former United goalkeeper, Edwin van der Sar, is looking to smooth over negotiations.
Now working as chief executive at Ajax, he is reportedly pushing his club into selling the player and negotiating the best possible price with United.
United, meanwhile, still have issues to solve over Cristiano Ronaldo’s future. His sale will leave a big hole in their attack and reports on Friday suggested a swap deal for Victor Osimhen may be in the offing. However, the Nigerian’s agent has quickly poured scorn on the reports.