Ajax chief tears into Man Utd as fury rages over Antony transfer saga
Antony left Ajax for Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United in an £85.6million deal on deadline day and the Eredivisie champions are not happy about the timing of the transfer
Ajax are still furious with Manchester United over the timing of their £85.6million capture of Brazilian winger Antony.
The Dutch champions felt compelled to allow Antony to move to Old Trafford on deadline day after United met their inflated valuation and the 22-year-old went on strike to force the deal through. United prised Erik ten Hag away from Ajax at the start of the summer – and have now taken Lisandro Martinez and Antony to Manchester.
The squad Ten Hag left behind for new boss Alfred Schreuder has been stripped bare by departures – but now Ajax sporting director Gerry Hamstra has torn into United for the way they conducted their business.
Hamstra said: “Manchester United’s timing was so bad. The last few days (of the transfer window) became even more hectic after Ajax had already gone through a major rebuild of the squad following the departure of lots of top-class players.
“It was so difficult to leave our new manager with such a void. We all think we lost too many first-team players who always start. We had a summer with totally different expectations. We wanted to keep the group together as much as possible to be able to perform well in the Champions League and to carry on being successful.
“That’s what we talked about with Alfred. Of course we knew there were a few snags. But no one had foreseen that our players would be bought for such huge sums of money.”
Ajax were able to keep United at bay when Ten Hag immediately targeted Dutch defender Jurrien Timber on his arrival at Old Trafford. The teenager felt a move to the Premier League could damage his hopes of going to the World Cup.
But Martinez made it clear he wanted to link-up with his former boss – and was able to force through a £56.7million deal. Antony then became even more militant after United had two bids rejected before making an offer Ajax couldn’t refuse.
Ajax also saw Andre Onana, Nico Tagliafico, Noussair Mazraoui, Ryan Gravenberch and Sebastien Haller during the summer. So Schreuder urged the Amsterdam club to stand firm when United came calling for Antony – only to discover cash is king.
Antony began repaying his massive fee when he scored on his debut as United ended Arsenal’s unbeaten start to the season at Old Trafford on Sunday. Hamstra said: “I understand Schreuder’s anger, very much so. I have been a manager myself, I know how annoying it is when your best player leaves at the very last minute. We did not want this, we wanted to keep Antony.”
Antony’s determination to leave sparked an explosive row with Schreuder. Schreuder said: “I thought: you’re just a f****** player. You have to train and play as every player should while under contract. I told him he would not be leaving. I thought it was weird behaviour.
“It’s a shame it happened. Personally, I just think it’s bad. I’m angry about it, too. This sort of thing, so late in the window, frustrates you as a manager.”