MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United took the cost of its recent rebuild to nearly $240 million by completing the signing of Brazil winger Antony from Ajax on Thursday, the final day of the transfer window.
The 22-year-old Antony became United's second most expensive signing — after Paul Pogba in 2016 — at $95 million and is the latest player to arrive at Old Trafford from the Dutch league.
Erik ten Hag, who left Ajax to take over as United manager during the offseason, has brought Lisandro Martinez — an Argentina center back costing nearly $58 million — and now Antony with him from the Amsterdam club. Tyrell Malacia was signed from Feyenoord and Christian Eriksen, a former Ajax player, has joined on a free transfer.
United also signed Brazil midfielder Casemiro from Real Madrid last week, for about $70 million.
Antony is a skillful and quick left-footed attacker and is likely to be playing at the World Cup in Qatar for Brazil. He has spent only two full seasons at Ajax but has impressed United enough to make him the fourth costliest player to join an English team, after Jack Grealish to Manchester City, Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea, and Pogba to United.
“This is an incredible moment in my career to be joining one of the most iconic clubs in the world,” Antony said of United, a record 20-time English champion which hasn't won the Premier League since 2013.
“Playing under Erik ten Hag at Ajax was perfect for me and my development. His style of football and coaching brings out the best in me, and I am excited by what he has told me about his plans and ambitions in Manchester."
United will pay Ajax a further 5 million euros ($5 million) in potential add-ons for Antony, who complained last week in an interview with Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano that the Dutch champions were not allowing him to leave.
Antony has signed a contract through 2027, with the option of an additional year. He will bring some flair to United while also adding more competition to the wide positions, where Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga are vying for spots.
“Antony is one of the most exciting young talents in European football and has exactly the right profile for the attacking, dynamic team Erik is building," said John Murtough, United's football director.
The arrival of another attacker might further reduce the game time of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been pushing to leave for a club playing in the Champions League. However, Ronaldo is running out of time — and potential suitors — to secure a move away, with ten Hag saying Wednesday he is planning for the season ahead with the Portugal star in his squad.
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The Associated Press