Manchester United have completed the signing of Antony Santos from Ajax for a fee of £86m.
With the transfer to United, Antony will be reunited with former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, who has previously signed defenders Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord and Lisandro Martinez from his old team.
Antony called the decision a “amazing moment” in his career and that he was looking forward to reuniting with Ten Hag and his old teammates.
“Joining one of the most illustrious clubs in the world is a wonderful time in my career,” Antony said.
“I’m grateful to everyone who supported me, especially my family, as well as to all of my coaches and team members, without whom I would not have succeeded.
“Erik ten Hag’s coaching at Ajax was ideal for me and my growth. I play and coach better when he is around, and I am inspired by what he has shared with me about his goals and intentions for Manchester.
“My time at Ajax was amazing, and I will always be thankful for the faith they placed in me. However, now that I am ready for the next challenge, I can’t wait to join my new team and contribute to the success of Manchester United,” he said.
“Antony is one of the most exciting young players in European football and has precisely the perfect profile for the aggressive, vibrant team Erik is constructing,” continued Manchester United football director John Murtough.
His eagerness to join Manchester United and be a part of a long-term effort to return the team to the performance standards we all anticipate has really pleased us.
Since joining Ajax from Sao Paolo in 2020, under Ten Hag’s leadership, Antony has scored 25 goals in 82 club appearances. He has also made nine senior appearances for Brazil and has two goals and two assists. In addition to a gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics, he has won two Eredivisie championships.
After Paul Pogba (£93.3 million) and Romelu Lukaku (£90 million), Antony is United’s third-most expensive acquisition.
Through Italian football journalist Fabrizio Romano, the Brazil winger also publicly declared his intention to depart while the two teams haggled over a transfer deal.
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Alfred Schreuder, the new Ajax manager who replaced Ten Hag this summer, called the player’s behavior “strange” and claimed that if the player had stayed in the Netherlands over the summer departure date, he would have been penalized.
It’s unfortunate what occurred, added Schreuder. “It’s awful. That strikes me as odd. That was finally brought up with him.” I’m enraged by it. You’re just a player, in my opinion. Simply carry out your routine.
“Yes, he may face a fine. That he can act in that way within our club, in my opinion, is not good.”
“We certainly hope he will be the next Ajax star,” The club’s new £20 million acquisition from Sao Paulo, Antony, was being introduced by Erik ten Hag, the manager of Ajax at the moment. It was July 2020.
Ten Hag continued, “Ajax is constantly trying to reach for the top. “Therefore, I anticipate that he will work hard to live up to my expectations. We shall observe the remainder in the future.”
The Brazilian, who was just 19 when he decided to transfer to Amsterdam, quickly established himself as one of Ajax’s important players. Ten Hag was right to expect big things from Antony, but even he could not have imagined that one day he may also take him to Manchester United.