Brazil winger Antoni moves from Ajax to Manchester United – analysis of the transfer for € 100 million

The main event at the end of the transfer window is Anthony’s move. The Ajax winger cost Manchester United €100m, according to Sky Sports. This is the most expensive transfer in the history of the Dutch championship, and Manchester United spent more money only on Pogba (€ 105 million).

Who is Anthony anyway?

The story of Brazilians often begins with “born into a poor family and only thanks to football was able to escape from life in the favela …”. Anthony is different. Although his family lived in the small town of Ozascu (this is near Sao Paulo), they did not feel the need for food, clothes, or anything else. Anthony grew up with his father, mother, and older sister and brother.

Anthony family

Anthony family

Photo: From the personal archive

Anthony’s biography noted (yes, there are already biographical articles about him in Brazil) that he was always more impulsive than his brother and sister. From childhood, parents supported Anthony’s desire for football and at the age of 10 they let him go to the São Paulo academy. There he spent seven years before signing a professional contract. In the summer of 2017, Anthony came to the office with his parents. “This day will be special for the rest of my life,” said the player and signed.

Anthony at the signing of the contract

Anthony at the signing of the contract

Photo: From the personal archive

One of the main successes at the youth level for Anthony was the tournament in Japan. The Sao Paulo U17 team went there, which eventually took first place, and Antoni was recognized as the best player of the tournament. Upon his return to Brazil, he was immediately transferred to the main team, as were two other players who won the tournament in Japan.

Anthony in Sao Paulo

Anthony in Sao Paulo

Photo: From the personal archive

Further in the life of Anthony, everything quickly spun. He made his debut at the base of São Paulo and the Brazilian youth team, and a little more than a year later was sold to Ajax. The Dutch paid €15.75 million.

Anthony played little in Brazil (in fact, only one full year), but he did not spend much time in Holland either – the last two seasons + three matches in this one. In total, Anthony has 57 matches in the Dutch championship and 18 + 14 in the goal + pass system. Not so much for the Eredivisie, where attacking football is fairly open. In the 2021/2022 season, Anthony got only 8 + 4 in the championship (yes, and they laid out that kind of money for him). He was the 24th player in the league in scoring. True, it should be borne in mind here that due to injuries, the Brazilian played only 23 matches – this is less than any other player who was higher in the table. But in the last Champions League draw, Anthony showed productivity – there he has 2 + 4 in seven matches (only Aller has more in Ajax).

How were the negotiations for Anthony?

Manchester United’s interest in Anthony has existed for at least six months. In February, it was reported that the Brazilian was seen as a replacement for Greenwood, who still couldn’t figure out his court case. Before that, there was information about interest in Anthony from Bayern and PSG, and a little later from Barcelona. It became clear that the 22-year-old player of the main team of Brazil is a desirable target for many top clubs.



The most idiotic rule in football.  Even the judges can't decide what to do with him
The most idiotic rule in football. Even the judges can’t decide what to do with him

In June and August, Anthony was mentioned very often in relation to Manchester United. It was reported that Ajax refused many proposals from the British. €50 million? Refusal. €60 million? Refusal. €80 million? Refusal! It became obvious that United had already agreed with the player himself. But Ajax intends to squeeze the maximum out of the deal. It got to the point that Antoni gave an interview to the main football insider Fabrizio Romano, in which he complained about his club:

– Ajax refuse to sell me because there are five days left before the transfer window closes. But I’m not just asking you to let me go. Please sell me for a record price for an Eredivisian footballer. I have been insisting on this since February so that the club can easily rebuild the team, – said Anthony.

Apparently, ten Hag wanted to work with Anthony again so badly that he convinced Manchester United to pay €100m for the player. Sao Paulo will receive about €16m of this amount, according to the Brazilian Globo. On Monday, the Brazilian arrived in England and on the same day in the evening he successfully passed a medical examination.

What position will Anthony play?

In the Premier League, €100+ million transfers are usually not worth it. There are just three examples here: Grealish, Lukaku and Pogba. The latter two failed to make their mark at their respective clubs, and Grealish has yet to leave City, but his debut season at Manchester has been a mixed one. Speaking about Anthony’s chances to play, you need to understand where Ten Hag sees the winger. At Ajax, he played mainly on the right flank of the attack. This is confirmed by the heat map.

Heat map of Anthony

Heat map of Anthony

Ajax could form attacks on the left flank in order to leave Antoni uncovered and give him a pass. So, for example, the winger gave an assist in the match with Fortuna in the Dutch championship. Although you need to understand that you will rarely see such crowding of defenders in the Premier League.

Anthony on the field

Anthony on the field

Photo: Screenshot from the broadcast

On the right flank of Manchester United’s attack now sometimes Elanga appears, but Sancho acts more often. Sending a player who was taken for 85 million a year ago to the bench seems like a strange decision. Perhaps Ten Hag will try Anthony on the left. Or send just Sancho there so that the Brazilian remains in his favorite position on the right – this is a priority option according to the Athletic. Then Rashford will go to the bench (well, or he will play in the center of attack).

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