It has been a roller-coaster of a season so far for Manchester United. Erik ten Hag’s appointment was supposed to herald the start of a glorious new era.
And a promising pre-season meant expectations were ramped up even further. But a lack of transfer activity eventually meant United started the season in the worst possible manner — with defeats to both Brighton and Brentford.
The club did eventually get their act together and managed to bring in six high-quality players and coupled with the manager’s tactical nous, they have since embarked on a four-match winning run.
The winning sequence includes impressive victories against arch-rivals Liverpool and even more impressively against league leaders Arsenal.
Antony has already made an impact
And one of the stars of that show was new boy Antony. Purchased from Ajax for a massive €95 million, the Brazilian scored on his debut and has firmly become a fan favourite in a short span of time.
The transfer was notoriously difficult to complete with the Eredivisie champions playing hardball throughout negotiations. They kept upping the price but Ten Hag’s determination meant United finally landed their man.
Piet de Visser on how Chelsea missed Antony: “Together with Hans van der Zee [former Ajax head scout] we saw him for the first time at Brazil’s youth ranks and we were both charmed by him. That was a few years ago, just before he went to Ajax.”
— Vince™ (@Blue_Footy) September 12, 2022
The Dutch manager was desperate for the Brazil international to arrive as the squad had a lot of similar profile of wingers with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Anthony Elanga all preferring the left flank.
But it could have turned out a lot different if Chelsea advisor Piet de Visser had his ways. According to Voetbal Primeur (via Sport Witness), the former football manager had watched Antony back when he was playing for his country’s youth ranks.
De Visser was interested in taking him to Chelsea but the move eventually did not happen.
Chelsea could have landed Antony
“Together with Hans van der Zee [former Ajax head scout] we saw him for the first time at Brazil’s youth ranks and we were both charmed by him. That was a few years ago, just before he went to Ajax,” De Visser was quoted as saying.
“I thought he had to make an intermediate step and then Hans suggested Ajax. And then we would take him right from Ajax. We couldn’t get him, I would have wanted him.”
The article goes on to show how Premier League clubs are yet to tap into the lucrative South American market. Clubs like Ajax, Shakhtar Donetsk (in the case of Fred) eventually make a handsome profit by selling their players for exorbitant fees.
It is a good thing Antony never made the move to London. Chelsea are not exactly known for persevering with their young, raw talents, something United are known for.
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