By Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
Manchester United are making progress in their big-money pursuit of Ajax star Antony, the PA news agency understands.
The Old Trafford giants brought manager Erik ten Hag over from the Dutch champions this summer and then returned to sign defender Lisandro Martinez.
United paid an initial €57.37 million (£48.3m) for the Argentina international – a fee that could rise by a further €10m to around £56.7m – and Ajax now look set to land an even bigger windfall.
— Lisandro Martinez (@LisandrMartinez) August 27, 2022
The Old Trafford giants are understood to have seen a bid of around €90 million (£76m) rejected for Antony last week but a breakthrough now appears to have been made in the pursuit of the forward.
The proposed transfer fee for the Brazil international is reportedly €100m (£84.9m) including add-ons – news that will please Antony, who made his frustrations clear in an interview on Friday.
“Since February of this year, my agents came to Amsterdam to inform Ajax of my desire to leave the club to face a new challenge and that some interested clubs would arrive and, with them, certainly a great offer,” Antony said via Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano on YouTube.
“During the window months, meetings concluded including a proposal from Ajax for a contract renewal. I made it clear once again I want to leave the club.
“Today in a meeting with the board I expressed my interest in leaving the club, this time with a considerable offer on the table. Others have already arrived (but) Ajax always refuses with the argument it only has five days to replace (me).
“I’m not asking (for Ajax) to release me, I am asking Ajax to sell me for the highest bid received for a player who plays in the Eredivisie.”
Antony added: “I was very happy in Amsterdam, I won titles at Ajax, made friends and built part of my career, but now I reinforce that I am ready and full of motivation to follow my story and my dreams.
“People need to listen to me and understand that my motivation moves me towards happiness. I need this to continue performing at a high level. Ajax will always be in my heart.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 28, 2022
The transfer window closes on Thursday evening, when United will look to win a third successive Premier League match in the trip to Leicester.
After kicking off the campaign with embarrassing defeats to Brighton and Brentford, Ten Hag’s side responded with a 2-1 victory against rivals Liverpool and Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 triumph at Southampton.
Tyrell Malacia, Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro have arrived so far this summer.