Man Utd made enquiry for £60m Chelsea target before upping Antony offer

Manchester United and Chelsea could have spent the final few days of the transfer window battling to sign the same player – though the Red Devils ultimately decided to pay up for Ajax winger Antony instead.

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Erik ten Hag has been desperate to add a new attacker to his squad and convinced the club’s hierarchy to fork out €95million plus a further €5m in add-ons on Antony – taking the total value of the deal to £85m.

For months Ajax had been adamant that Antony was not for sale, but United’s latest offer – which was made over the weekend – has been deemed too good to turn down and the Brazilian is set to fly to Manchester on Monday for a medical.

However, when the deal was looking rather less promising, it appears United’s hierarchy explored the possibility of signing a different winger instead.

According to The Athletic, United made a ‘late check’ on the availability of Everton starlet Anthony Gordon, who has been the subject of three unsuccessful bids from Chelsea.

Thomas Tuchel is eager to add the 21-year-old to his ranks before the window closes and the west Londoners’ most recent offer is believed to have reached £60m, while there have also been suggestions that players – such as Conor Gallagher – were offered as potential makeweights.

United’s scouts have also been impressed with Gordon’s performances and felt he could be a cheaper alternative to Antony, though it quickly became apparent that Everton would drive just as hard a price as Ajax.

Unfortunately for Chelsea, The Athletic claim the chances of Gordon leaving Goodison Park at all before the window closes are now thought to be ‘slim’.

The two sides are still a long way apart on their valuation of the England Under-21 international and Tuchel may need to consider a last-minute alternative, or rely on the players already at his disposal.

Interestingly, Tottenham also enquired about Gordon when negotiating a deal for Richarlison but balked at Everton’s asking price, having valued the winger at closer to £30m.

Gordon gave an impressive display against Brentford on Saturday in the Premier League, netting Everton’s only goal in a 1-1 draw, and manager Frank Lampard was full of praise for a player he expects to hold on to.

‘He’s a level of player at 21 years of age, with what he showed last year, everyone is talking about and clubs are interested in him, and have had a nibble at him,’ said the Everton boss.

‘But he’s our player so I don’t come away from today thinking, “Oh dear that’s made someone keen to pay more millions for him”. I come away thinking, “He’s an Everton player and I want him to stay.” Simple.’

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