Ajax confirms Antony transfer to Manchester United for €100 million

After weeks of uncertainty, Brazilian footballer Antony Matheus dos Santos, better known simply as Antony, will depart Ajax for Manchester United in a deal worth up to 100 million euros. It far surpasses the previous record for the most expensive transfer of an Eredivisie player.

The two teams confirmed they reached agreement on Tuesday afternoon. Ajax will collect a transfer fee of 95 million euros, with up to 5 million euros more in add-ons. About 20 percent of that sum is expected to go to São Paulo FC, part of the deal terms which sent Antony to Amsterdam in 2020, according to Goal.com.

The previous record for highest transfer fee ever collected by an Eredivisie team was 75 million euros with up to 11 million euros in add-ons. Ajax secured that amount when it sent midfielder Frenkie de Jong to FC Barcelona in 2019. That same year, Ajax also transferred Matthijs de Ligt for a flat fee of 75 million euros to Juventus.

“The transfer is subject to medical and contractual details of both clubs and player,” Ajax said in a statement. Manchester United added that terms of a new contract with the player still have to be finalized.

In England, Antony will reunite with former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag. The Dutch trainer left Amsterdam for England at the end of the last football season. Manchester United is currently in eighth place in the Premier League. After four matches, the team has six points having won their last two matches.

Antony’s new team will begin European play on 8 September against Real Sociedad in the Europa League. The other teams in their group are Sheriff Tiraspol from Moldova, and Omonia Nicosia from Cyprus.

The Brazilian could face his old team if Ajax does not perform particularly well in the Champions League this season. Ajax takes on Liverpool, Napoli, and Rangers in the group stage over the next few months. They will advance if they secure the first or second place in their Champions League group, but a third place finish would mean they fall into the Europa League Round of 16.

Antony played in the Champions League with Ajax last season, with the Amsterdammers knocked out by Benfica in the Round of 16. The previous year, Ajax bowed out of the group stage of the Champions League, and then lost in the Europa League quarter finals to Roma.

The 22-year-old Brazilian departed São Paulo FC for Amsterdam in 2020. He scored his first goal in his debut that September, a 0-1 victory at Sparta. He scored 24 times in his 82 matches with Ajax, helping the team to Eredivisie championships in 2021 and 2022. The team also won the Dutch Cup in his first season with the Amsterdam club, and was the runner-up the following year.

To date, Antony also has played in nine matches for the Brazilian men’s national team. He has two goals and two assists in international play, and a gold medal from the 2020 Summer Olympics.

It had been rumored for months that Ten Hag would make a move to sign Antony. Ajax also sold Lisandro Martinez to the English club earlier this summer in a deal worth more than 57 million euros, and then signed Calvin Bassey to replace Martinez.

To fill the gap left behind by the transfer, Ajax is now close to signing Lucas Ocampos away from Sevilla, various media outlets reported. The deal could cost Ajax about 23 million euros if they want the 28 year old.

Ajax also signed 16-year-old Dutch right winger Kayden Wolff to a contract on Tuesday. It is the first professional deal signed by the young Almere talent.

Earlier speculation suggested Ajax was going to target Hakim Ziyech on the transfer market, but a possible deal with Chelsea looks to be dead. The Amsterdam club wanted Ziyech, a former Ajax fan favorite, as a rental player for which they would pay a fee and half of Ziyech’s 10 million euro salary. However, Chelsea wanted a permanent transfer with a 40 million euro price tag.

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