De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links in June
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Barcelona star Frenkie de Jong has inadvertently played a role in Manchester United’s huge £84million deal for Antony, reports claim. The Ajax star is set to move to Old Trafford after a fee was agreed on Sunday. And hopes are high within the club that he can be a huge hit, having previously played for Erik ten Hag before.
Manchester United have finally agreed a deal with Ajax to sign Antony, who is set to follow the likes of Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro to Old Trafford.
And Goal claim the Red Devils have used funds that were previously set aside for De Jong in order to strike an agreement.
De Jong was United’s top target at the start of the summer, with Ten Hag seeking a reunion with a player he’d previously managed at Ajax.
And United, having been prepared to spend big on the 25-year-old before dropping their interest, have now allocated the funds on a deal for Antony instead.
Within Old Trafford, they feel the Brazil international has the potential to become one of the best forwards in world football.
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Ten Hag knows all about Antony, having spent the last two years managing the 22-year-old over in the Eredivisie.
And United also think that, if the Brazil international ends up shining, they may be able to sell the forward for an even bigger amount further down the line.
Antony is set to challenge the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford for a starting berth once his move is officially completed.
He may be used on the right wing, where he often operated during his spell at Ajax, but he’s also capable of playing on the opposite flank as well.
It’s claimed Antony’s arrival will ‘give United’s manager more freedom to move Rashford into a central position’, too.
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Rashford has been played as a striker for their last two Premier League matches, with the Red Devils putting Liverpool and Southampton to the sword.
Ten Hag sees Rashford as a player capable of competing with Marcus Rashford for a place at the tip of his attack.
And that spells trouble for Cristiano Ronaldo, who still wants to leave the club for a team who can offer him Champions League football as he enters the twilight years of his career.
Had De Jong joined United, it’s said the Red Devils had cheaper alternatives to Antony on their radar.
Cody Gakpo was believed to have been one of them, while there’s also been talk of a potential deal for Memphis Depay in the last hours of the transfer window.
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And it’ll be fascinating to see how Antony fares in England, especially given how he’s now set to become the club’s second most-expensive signing of all time.
Only Paul Pogba has cost United more, with the France international setting the Red Devils back a massive £89m back in 2016.
And Antony’s move to the club comes just days after he’d gone public with his desire to leave Ajax behind.
At the tail end of last week, he said: “Since February of this year, my agents came to Amsterdam to inform Ajax of my desire to leave the club to face a new challenge and that some interested clubs would arrive and with them, certainly a great offer.
“During the window months, meetings continued and I also received a proposal from Ajax for contract renewal.
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“I made it clear once again: I want to leave.
“I was very happy in Amsterdam, I won titles at Ajax, made friends and built part of my career.
“But now I reinforce that I am ready and full of motivation to follow my story and my dreams.
“People need to listen to me and understand that my motivation moves me towards happiness.
“I need this to continue performing at a high level. Ajax will always be in my heart.”
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