Erik ten Hag has no qualms about raiding Ajax and plans to bring a £50m forward to Man Utd, while high demands have seen Arsenal leapfrog AC Milan in the race to sign a Real Madrid attacker – all in Tuesday’s transfer gossip.
TEN HAG UNFAZED AT RAIDING AJAX
Incoming Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag ‘will make’ Ajax forward Antony one of his first signings at Old Trafford, per a report.
The Dutchman, 52, is poised to become United’s fifth permanent manager in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano recently gave the move his signature ‘here we go’ confirmation. Though he later explained why official confirmation has not yet arrived.
Negotiations are still ongoing regarding bringing his current assistant at Ajax – Mitchell Van der Gaag – to Manchester.
And according to the Sun, Van der Gaag is not the only Ajax figure that could follow in Ten Hag’s footsteps.
The Sun report Ten Hag plans to make 22-year-old winger Antony one of the first additions to his new Man Utd squad.
The Brazil international has 12 goals and 10 assists to his name across all competitions with Ajax this season. As such, and given Ten Hag has no qualms about raiding a former club, Antony is viewed as a ‘ready-made’ signing.
Some managers are keen to avoid signing players from former clubs. However, it’s noted Ten Hag often targets players he trusts, and Antony seemingly fits that bill.
£50m+ will seal Antony signing
Making a deal for Antony would also be fairly straightforward, per the report. Providing Ajax receive a suitable offer of at least £50m, they won’t stand in the player’s way.
Part of Ten Hag’s reasoning behind the proposed deal stems from fears Antony’s value could soon skyrocket.
He is poised to play a big part in the Qatar World Cup for Brazil later this year. Taking that tournament by storm could see his value soar and Ten Hag wishes to get ahead of the game in that regard.
The Sun cite an Ajax insider that claimed: “If it’s right for the club and they get a good fee, then it won’t be a problem for Ten Hag to go back to Ajax for players.
“He is a massive fan of Antony, who he has nurtured, and is smart enough to realise if he goes to Qatar and helps Brazil win the World Cup then his price will go through the roof as a world champion.
“He is similar in style to Everton’s Richarlison. Antony is a similar type of player who would create and score goals for Manchester United.”
ARSENAL TAKE ASENSIO LEAD BY DEFAULT
Arsenal have moved into pole position in the race to sign Marco Asensio by default after high demands made their main competition baulk, per a report.
The Gunners will be on the lookout for reinforcements in the final third this summer. Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah could both follow Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of the exit door with the pair both due to become free agents.
That has seen the Gunners linked with all manner of central strikers across Europe. However, reports from Italy and Spain have continued to put them in the mix for wide attacker Marco Asensio.
The Real Madrid forward will see his contract at the Bernabeu expire in 2023. As such, this summer could be the perfect time for the Spaniards to cash in if an extension goes unsigned.
Arsenal and Tottenham have both been linked, though interest had also emerged from AC Milan.
The Italian giants could be looking for a replacement for Brahim Diaz who Real are expected to recall early from a two-year loan. SempreMilan later claimed that development could give AC the upper hand for Asensio.
However, according to Calciomercato, Milan have baulked at Asensio’s initial wage demands.
They state the first salary request from Asensio’s camp went ‘way beyond’ AC’s limit. Asensio reportedly pockets €5m net per season in Spain at present (£80,000-a-week). AC would be able to match that figure, though a far higher demand has been made first up.
His camp reportedly aimed high given they are fully aware interest in Asensio is widespread. Indeed, Calciomercato namecheck Arsenal and state that they, ‘above all’, are making life difficult for Milan.
And if the Italian outfit stick to their guns on salary, Arsenal may have a clear path to the signing of Asensio. The report concludes a transfer fee would be in the range of €35m (£29m).
Of course, Asensio could yet remain in Madrid after manager Carlo Ancelotti explained talks are currently ongoing over a new contract.
However, the Italian admitted to Spanish station Radio Rai that he doesn’t know what will happen with his attacker as yet.
ASTON VILLA TO MAKE COUTINHO DEMAND
Meanwhile, Aston Villa will reportedly ask Barcelona to slash their asking price for Coutinho in half.
The Brazilian joined Steven Gerrard’s side on loan in January. Sparkling early form has since tailed off to some degree, though it’s unquestionable he has already made an impact at Villa Park.
Part of the deal that saw him return to England was reportedly a £33m option to buy. At one stage, it looked inevitable that Villa would sanction a move.
However, per the Daily Mail, Villa will now ask Barcelona cut their asking price in half to make a deal more viable.
Villa are deemed ‘hopeful’ Barcelona will play ball with the Spaniards desperate to offload Coutinho’s huge salary once and for all.