Manchester United could be close to signing Antony Santos, the talented Brazilian winger from Ajax. The Premier League side had first shown interest in the Dutch team’s player in July, but initial talks didn’t result in much. 

Since then, United has raised the stakes, offering around €80 million. While Ajax still turned down the bid, the 22-year-old now wants out. He didn’t show up for training and won’t be part of the club’s upcoming game either, Fabrizio Romano reported. 

The player had also pressurized the board to continue negotiations with United, whose current coach Erik ten Hag was formerly managing the Ajax side where Antony plays. 

While United have been trying for Antony, they have kept Cody Gakpo of PSV as a cheaper alternative. However, the Brazilian is ten Hag’s priority and the deal seems close to materializing. Ajax holding on to Antony, while the player wants out, is only bound to worsen things. The situation is similar to Bayern Munich’s refusal to let Robert Lewandowski go, despite the Polish striker seeking a move to Barcelona, which has now been completed. 

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United initially made an offer in the mid-fifty million euros for Antony, but even when they took it up to sixty, the Reds were still twenty million short of the asking price. Now, United are reportedly prepared to offer €100 million even, for the deal to be completed. 

Antony had eight goals and four assists across 23 Eredivisie appearances in the 2021-22 season and scored six goals in seven Champions League matches last season. United, who have also recently completed the transfer for Real Madrid central defensive midfielder Casemiro won’t be playing in the upcoming Champions League, having landed the sixth spot on the PL table last season. 

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During this transfer window, the Old Trafford side has also signed Ajax defender Lisandro Martinez, Brentford midfielder Christian Eriksen, and Feyenoord youngster Tyrell Malacia