Manchester United are set to have a busy end to the transfer window.
Having completed the deal for Casemiro earlier this week, the club are eager to get a couple more faces through the door before the end of the month. A deal for Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka looks close, with the Slovakian being brought in to provide competition for David De Gea.
Their main target seems to be Ajax winger Antony.
The club have been linked with the Brazilian all summer, having a number of offers already rejected. The latest bid of €90million fell short of the Dutch club's asking price, who are believed to be seeking in excess of €100million in order to part of the player.
That is an absolutely extraordinary amount of money, especially for a player with Antony's track record. While the 22-year old has no shortage of talent or potential, he did manage only eight goals and four assists in the Eredivisie last season.
BT Sport disagree on Manchester United overpaying for Antony
It seems as though Manchester United supporters care little about the fee the club end up paying, even if it is clear they are being taken advantage of in this situation.
Speaking on BT Sport, Paul Scholes suggested that the transfer fee doesn't really matter all that much in the current game, even if he does have doubts about Antony. However, Peter Crouch said it was clear that the Premier League club were being taken advantage of.
"The money is just crazy these days and it's stopping players from moving"
"I feel a bit for the lad, he obviously wants to come to United"@rioferdy5, @petercrouch & Paul Scholes discuss whether Ajax winger Antony will end up at Old Trafford this summer 🔴 pic.twitter.com/v0BvSPidN2
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 27, 2022
Scholes: I think you just have to ignore the money these days. The money is just ridiculous for every single player.
He's a very talented player. You could probably sit here and say the money is a bit too much for him, but as I said the money is just crazy these days. It's stopping players from moving...
The other thing is, is he good enough? I don't think he has scored that many goals or got that many assists in the Dutch league. It will be a lot harder over here.
The Dutch league is a lot easier than over here. We have seen that. He will be properly tested if he comes over here.
Crouch: My worry is that United look desperate, it's like the [Frenkie] De Jong situation over the course of the summer. Transfer targets haven't come and it's getting closer and closer (to the end of the window) and it's obvious United need players.
Ajax are rubbing their hands. European clubs now with top young players, when United come calling they must be rubbing their hands. They're thinking €100million.
As had been a consistent theme in recent seasons, it seems as though Manchester United's lack of long-term planning has put them into a difficult position.
They had all summer to negotiate a deal for Antony, which would have left plenty of time to find an alternative option if the deal was not right for the club. With time now running out, Ajax seem poised to take advantage of their desperation.
Rio Ferdinand feels that paying over the odds is just something Manchester United need to at the moment to attract players considering their recent struggles on the pitch. While that may be true when it comes to wages, paying such a massive fee for an untested player feels like a massive risk that they should not need to take.
Ferdinand: That's the problem now with Man United, without Champions League there has to be a way of enticing players. At the moment, financials is the only way. They've got to pay top dollar above everyone else for that reason.
Normally you come to Manchester United for Champions League football, history, and the opportunity to win. Two of those are out of the equation...
[Ten Hag] wants to build a team that is recognisable to him and his personality. He sees him as one of these players that can carry that out for them.
At the end of the day what will be, will be. Ajax don't really need to sell, I don't think they're under any financial pressure to do that. Man United are going to have to go above and beyond what they first expected to pay.
It seems likely that Manchester United will eventually meet the asking price for Antony, and while he could prove to be a good addition to the squad, the club continue to look ill-prepared when it comes to building for their long-term future.
That will have to change if they are to get back to competing at the highest level once again.