Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is aiming to sign Ajax winger Antony before the transfer market closes on September 1st but is willing to seek elsewhere if necessary.
Manchester United is reportedly prioritizing signing Antony this month but has created a three-man shortlist in case the deal falls through.
Erik ten Hag is expected to pursue the Ajax winger, 22, after bringing him from Sao Paulo to Amsterdam in the summer of 2020. Antony has scored 18 goals and contributed 14 assists in 57 Eredivisie matches since then, earning two titles.
The Brazil international wants to join United and has submitted a transfer request to Ajax, who turned down a £72.3 million deal last week. The Dutch champions are expected to examine proposals of €100 million (£84 million), a big sum of money for the Red Devils to invest.
As a result, it’s likely that United will be unable to meet Ajax’s asking price for Antony and will search elsewhere. If the Antony deal falls through, they will increase their interest in Cody Gakpo, Christian Pulisic, and Marcus Thuram, according to ESPN.
Gakpo, 23, is now on the books at PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, where he scored 21 goals in all competitions last season. He’s a seven-cap Netherlands international who has already scored twice this season in the Eredivisie.
Thuram, 25, is a midfielder for Borussia Monchengladbach and has four senior caps for France. Injuries limited him to three goals in 23 appearances last season, although he has proven his ability in the past, scoring 14 times in the 2019/20 campaign.
Pulisic, 23, has been with Chelsea since the summer of 2019 but has failed to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. Since leaving Borussia Dortmund, the USA international has struggled with form and conditioning, scoring 25 goals.
After selling numerous first-team players this summer, Ajax is hesitant to let Antony leave. In recent weeks, Ryan Gravenberch, Sebastien Haller, Nicolas Tagliafico, Perr Schuurs, and Lisandro Martinez have all left Amsterdam.
Ten Hag has joined him at Old Trafford, where he has started all three of United’s Premier League games this season. Losing Martinez was a setback for Ajax after he was awarded Player of the Season, and it’s unclear whether they can afford to lose Antony as well.
“What he [Antony] wants… there is nothing I can do about it,” Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder remarked. “He is under contract with Ajax. We’ve already sold a lot of players, and our players are ambitious. I am convinced that he will be playing for Ajax in less than a week.”
Marco Asensio is another possible target for United. According to The Telegraph, they have been offered the chance to sign the Real Madrid winger, 26, for €30 million (£25.3 million). Ten Hag recently recruited Casemiro, a former Real Madrid teammate, to improve his midfield.
United is not understood to be seriously exploring a move for Asensio, who is in the final year of his contract. The three-time Champions League winner scored 12 goals for Real Madrid last season and has 28 senior caps for Spain, scoring once.
United has struggled for creativity this season, scoring only three goals in their first three Premier League games. Last season, the Red Devils struggled to score goals, scoring 57 in the Premier League despite having the seventh-best record.
Anthony Martial, Marcus Rahsford, Amad Diallo, Jadon Sancho, Anthony Elanga, Shola Shoretire, Tahith Chong, Alejandro Garnacho, and Cristiano Ronaldo are Ten Hag’s current attacking options, with the latter hoping to depart Old Trafford this month.