Ralph Hasenhüttl on Man Utd
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Edwin van der Sar rescued Manchester United countless times throughout his stint as a player at the club, and he and the Red Devils have continued their strong relationship after his playing days. The Ajax chief executive has now made a ‘rare’ decision to help United and former manager Erik ten Hag seal a deal for priority transfer target Antony.
The Red Devils are locked in advanced talks with Ajax over the 22-year-old, and there is confidence an agreement will be struck before the September 1 summer transfer deadline. Van der Sar, not for the first time, has taken it upon himself to intervene and bring negotiations to a close.
According to De Volkskrant, United have accelerated their pursuit of Antony in the final week of the window and would be prepared to meet Ajax’s £85million valuation. The Brazilian winger has also asked to leave for a reunion with Ten Hag at Old Trafford. For those reasons, Van der Sar has stepped in for Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Gerry Hamstra.
The iconic goalkeeper, who won the Champions League with United in 2008, ‘rarely’ gets involved in transfer dealings. However, due to his relationship and history with the club, he is now leading the final talks and expects to receive a second official bid for Antony imminently.
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United were turned away after submitting an opening offer worth £67.5m earlier this summer. But the report adds that it would be surprising if the Dutch Eredivisie rejected their second approach if it was worth as much as £85m, making Antony the second more expensive signing in the club’s illustrious history.
Ten Hag is desperate for attacking reinforcements in his first transfer window as manager, and Antony has firmly been his priority for months. Despite United’s interest looking dead in the water after failing with their opening bid, the player’s efforts to force a transfer through have propelled hopes of securing his services.
Antony could be the Red Devils’ fifth signing of the summer, following Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen, Lisandro Martinez and Casemiro. His arrival would likely see Ten Hag’s spending eclipse surpass the £220m mark, with a backup goalkeeper, right-back and central midfielder still in the Dutchman’s sights.
On Friday, Ten Hag revealed that Anthony Martial would miss his third of four Premier League games through injury against Southampton on Saturday. His absence, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo’s uncertain future, has stressed the need for fresh blood in United’s attacking ranks.
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