Manchester United winger Antony could soon find himself “under pressure to live up to expectations” at Old Trafford, as journalist Dean Jones provides a verdict on his future following the expected minority takeover of Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The Red Devils winger has endured a tumultuous campaign under head coach Erik ten Hag and has struggled for regular playing time and form over October and November.
Antony arrived at Man Utd during the 2022 summer transfer window but has not lived up to expectations. He could soon find himself in a pressurised situation. The Manchester giants return to action on 26th November following the season’s third international break.
Antony’s difficult season
Manchester United confirmed the signing of Antony in August 2022. The club acquired the South American’s signature on a five-year contract in a deal worth £82m with Ajax. The winger’s contract expires in the summer of 2027 with the option of an additional year. Despite scoring on his debut against Arsenal in September 2022, Antony has found adjusting to life in the Premier League challenging. He had previously been a critical cog in a dominant Ajax team in the Eredivisie.
In September 2023, over a year after he arrived from Amsterdam, the 23-year-old was placed on a leave of absence by Man Utd after facing abuse allegations from three women in Brazil. However, it was made clear that the player’s absence was agreed upon between himself and the club and was not a suspension, with the wide man still receiving full pay. At the end of September, Man Utd released another statement stating that Antony would return to training while police inquiries continued.
But he has still struggled to find form for ten Hag’s side, with United floundering in the Premier League and Champions League this term. On 2nd September, Jones told GIVEMESPORT that Antony was on course to become an ‘£80m’ flop at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, in behind-the-scenes matters, INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe is close to agreeing to his 25% minority stake in Manchester United, with the Englishman taking control of football operations.
|Antony – season-by-season Man Utd stats|
|Stats according to Transfermarkt|
Dean Jones update – Antony
Jones claims that Ratcliffe’s arrival should “give every player a kick up the backside”, with the club no longer accepting passengers under the 71-year-old’s rule. The journalist expects “someone like Antony” to find himself under pressure to “live up to expectations.” Jones told GIVEMESPORT:
“Ratcliffe’s arrival should give every player a kick up the backside because they will not accept failure. I look at someone like Antony as someone who will quickly find himself under pressure to live up to expectations because Man Utd will no longer carry passengers.
“Over recent months, the club will have been studied from top to bottom, and one thing that will have been noticed is that they haven’t been ruthless enough in decision-making. Too many team members no longer fit, which will spark change over the next year.
“Ten Hag is safe for now; he’ll be assured of that, but at the same time, he is not safe at any cost. If results and performances are not up to scratch this season, he will be under as much pressure as anyone else at the club to stay in his role. It’s a very interesting time.”
Man Utd transfer news
According to a report in The Mirror on 4th November, Manchester United are interested in signing Flamengo centre-forward Gabriel Barbosa and are willing to offer Antony in a part-exchange loan. Until significant investment is secured, the Red Devils must abide by the Premier League’s strict profit and sustainability rules. They will consider cut-price deals until their financial issues are resolved. Flamengo are interested signing Antony on loan, which could smooth negotiations between the two clubs heading into the 2024 winter transfer window.
Meanwhile, the same publication has claimed that United remain interested in OGC Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo. The France international is valued at around £40m by the Ligue 1 outfit, with Barcelona due 20% of any future sale. Newcastle United have also scouted Todibo this season. Eddie Howe is expected to sign a centre-back in January 2024.
Manchester United will return from the November international break on the 26th when they face a tough trip to Everton. The Toffees will be riled after receiving a ten-point deduction for breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules. The Red Devils then close the month with a must-win game at Galatasaray on the 29th, hoping to salvage their Champions League status heading into their final group stage showdown with Bayern Munich in December.