Ralph Hasenhüttl on Man Utd
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Manchester United have officially lodged an improved £76million bid for Ajax winger Antony as Erik ten Hag pushes for a late summer reunion. However, the Dutch Eredivisie champions have turned down the approach as they stand firm on their valuation of the 22-year-old star.
According to Telegraaf, United made their second offer for Antony on Friday afternoon but were instantly told that he was still not for sale. And further reports have confirmed that Ajax have already rejected the £76m proposal because it isn’t deemed enough to lure him away from Amsterdam.
It is understood that Ajax’s failure to secure Hakim Ziyech’s return to the club from Chelsea has played a significant role in their hesitance to cash in on Antony. However, the Brazilian ace is desperate to join Ten Hag at Old Trafford and has made his disappointment over his move being blocked known.
Antony missed last weekend’s 1-0 win against Sparta Rotterdam amid the ongoing fracas surrounding his future and desire to leave Ajax. And the report adds he will once again be absent when Alfred Schreuder’s side travel to FC Utrecht on Sunday after continuing to train alone this week.
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Ajax are thought to value Antony at £85m, which would make him the second-most expensive player in United’s history if they decide to meet those demands. He has been Ten Hag’s attacking priority this summer, with the Premier League giants short on numbers across his forward line.
However, it was never going to be an easy deal to pull off after United followed their raid of the Dutchman and his assistant, Mitchell van der Gaag, with the £57m capture of Lisandro Martinez. And it remains to be seen whether the Red Devils plan to return to the negotiation table for the third time.
With just six days of the summer transfer window left, it comes as no surprise that Ajax are driving a hard bargain for their most prized asset. Clubs regularly seek to take advantage of United’s financial stature, but there is also a current understanding that they have been left scrambling for attacking reinforcements.
Negotiations have been impacted accordingly, and it has left the Red Devils needing to pay even further over the odds for a somewhat unproven player or walk away from a deal and look for alternatives in the short time available. Ten Hag will hope it’s a case of third time lucky, but Ajax seem intent on shutting up shop.
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