Manchester United face having to pay £17million more for Ajax winger Antony because Erik ten Hag insisted on signing Lisandro Martinez, according to reports. The Dutch giants have hiked up their asking price for the Brazilian after parting company with a host of their major players this summer, with the Red Devils weighing up whether to stump up the cash.
Antony was made a priority target by Ten Hag shortly after he took charge at the start of the summer.
Initial negotiations with Ajax came to nothing, but having failed to land a series of other attacking targets, United are now back in contention to sign the Brazilian.
Manchester Evening News claim that the Dutch giants would have sold Antony for £67million several weeks ago, but have since increased the price due to a change in circumstances.
For one, time is running out for them to find a replacement, and secondly United have already taken one of their best players in Martinez.
As such, the Red Devils are mulling over whether to meet their increased valuation before next week’s transfer deadline, with the fee hiked up by £17m because of Martinez’s move to Old Trafford.
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Antony and his representatives are supposedly trying to force through a move to Old Trafford and a reunion with Ten Hag. Last season, the 22-year-old racked up eight goals and four assists in the Eredivisie as the Amsterdam giants romped to yet another league title.
Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder addressed the situation after victory over Sparta on Sunday, and he didn’t mince his words.
When asked whether the youngster could stay in the Netherlands, he told ESPN: “Yes, my feeling is good. I understand Antony. But you play for Ajax.
“We are playing Champions League football. I don’t think Manchester United are playing Champions League football.
“I want Antony to stay. I am assuming that the club will not sell him.
“The money that is being thrown around these days is crazy. But I would not find it okay if we sell another player. We are in a powerful position, financially.”
United are also reported to be keeping tabs on PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo.
It remains to be seen whether they have the budget to sign both, or whether Ten Hag will focus solely on bringing Antony to the Premier League.