Finally, the rumor mill surrounding Antony to United is over. Manchester United secured Eric ten Hag’s man after two unsuccessful bids. Ajax finally agreed to sell the Brazilian for a bid of around 100 million Euros making the winger one of the most expensive EPL players ever. Antony, alongside Casemiro will also have the chance to be the first really successful Brazilian to play for United. Though, there could be signs this will be another Anderson, but it’s hard to not be pessimistic as a United fan these days.
Eric ten Hag really wanted this man, and that should speak volumes. It seems as if Eric insisted on the player over an out and out number 9. There were not many number 9s to go after this late in the window, but it seems ten Hag believes his best attack will involve the rotation of wingers. The price tag may be high, but the player is highly rated by the manager and is only 22 years old. United fans should also know, Antony wanted this move over any other. Even in United’s darkest of times he still pushed for this move.
I believe Antony has the desire, athleticism, and mentality to be an absolute success at United. I don’t want to over correct my previous pessimistic tone too quickly, but Antony is the kind of guy that could become a world mega star. Let’s hope he does!
Time at Ajax
There’s no question Ajax pumps out quality young talent year after year. Much like Borussia Dortmund in Germany, Ajax is a checkpoint for many of the worlds up and coming stars.
Antony signed for Ajax in 2020 from Sao Paulo and has been an absolute success for the Dutch side in his 2 seasons with them. Antony managed 9 goals and 8 assists in his first season for the club, and 8 goals with 4 assists last season. Playing on the right wing, that stat line is nothing to balk at. He averages approximately 3.5 shots per game and has a pass success rate of around 82%.
Antony primarily plays on the right wing, but is interchangeable. With Ajax he was one of (if not the) most forward thinking players at the club, with no lack of effort in defense either.
These are the numbers and statistics of a high quality winger for sure, but again the 100 million Euro price tag alongside these numbers may raise some questions. But, Antony’s game goes beyond the numbers. Antony was vital to Ajax reaching the group stage of the Champions League in the last two seasons. Antony’s performance against Dortmund in last years group stage sticks out in particular.
Eric ten Hag & Antony
Eric ten Hag helped develop Antony in to a quick winger capable of playing on either side. He has excellent quick/one touch passing ability, and has the willingness to track back with high intensity. When Antony arrived at Ajax at just 19 years old, he required a lot of coaching to become the player he now is. Eric ten Hag was the man to shape Antony and has always been a fan of the young Brazilian.
But, Eric also knows he has to be hard on Antony. Following a 2-0 win over AZ Alkmaar in which Antony was instrumental to the victory, ten Hag said:
“It was clear that he was very dangerous and on the one hand I enjoyed him, his speed, his pressure, the threat of his dribbles, but he could also have got more out of his play.”-Eric ten Hag
Some players, especially many United players in recent years, would not take well to this type of criticism. But, Antony showed the character to take this on the chin and get better. Antony responded:
“Every player under his guidance becomes a better footballer through his training. Since my arrival, he has given me a lot of confidence and believed in what I can do. I am grateful for that. I respect him very much.”-Antony
Eric ten Hag surely is eager to continue developing the young man. Antony will also find his transition to the EPL easier than most, as he’ll be slotting right into a system he is already comfortable with. Antony will have literally only played 2 matches without Eric ten Hag as his manager to start the season, since he was still in Brazil.
Antony’s relationship with Eric ten Hag is the driving force behind this move, and will be vital to his success.
Style of Play
For me, Antony’s greatest strength is his ‘flair’ and play making ability. His technique and ability to dribble the ball are almost Neymar esque and his left footed shot is comparable to the likes of Arjen Robben. His quickness allows him the ability to weave out and in between defenders. Combine that quickness with his ball control ability and its no wonder his capability to spin out of tight situations in the box is so impeccable. That is an asset in particular, United has been lacking for a very long time.
Antony will be capable of making a play from absolutely nothing and is not afraid to cut in on his left and have a go at goal. Something we haven’t seen the likes of Sancho or Rashford do enough of in recent times. Perhaps, Antony’s play can help take that pressure off the English internationals and open up space for other attackers.
Antony’s athleticism can not be overlooked either. Antony will be the most athletic player United have, considering Ronaldo is in his final days. The highlights United fans can expect to see from Antony will be insane and happen often. Manchester United have a player capable of the spectacular on their hands. Antony surely walks straight into the United 11.
The Igniting of a New Star
Antony comes to Old Trafford with a 100 million Euro price tag, and the expectations are high. But, this is a Brazilian player that doesn’t shy away from the spotlight. Eric ten Hag believes in him, so United fans should too. The player may need time to develop yet, but I have a hunch he’ll produce immediately. Antony has the flash United has lacked in recent years.
Seriously, go watch the lads skills and highlights (Antony highlights). These types of videos always make a player look good and can be misleading. But the plays Antony is making are incomparable to anything any current United payer has done, outside of Ronaldo of course.