Ten Hag Hails His ‘Missing Link’ After Arsenal Triumph
Manchester United’s chase for Ajax starlet Antony turned into a bit of a protracted affair for the Old Trafford outfit and new manager Erik ten Hag this summer. He knew the 22-year-old Brazilian international attacker well from their time together in the Dutch Eredivisie, and although he was not the gaffers absolute top target this summer, he did manage to finally get his man late on during the 2022 summer transfer window.
It took until deadline line for a deal to pass and United absolutely had to sanction a premium on his signing, paying a massive £82 million for his services – with a believed additional £4.3 million in add ons to get the Dutch giants to finally make a deal.
It was not all plain sailing over the summer as Antony made it clear he wanted the move after United’s overtures were rejected, and he recently tried to make amends to his former fan base for effectively going on strike and refusing to train with the side to force the move through and he even skipped two of their matches as the closure of the window moved closer.
“I felt at home at this club. It’s quite difficult. I said goodbye to everyone at the club. From day one, I got an amazing reception, but it is how it is. I will always have this club and the fans in my heart. They always supported me and put me at ease. I’m grateful to my family and to this club that made a lot possible. Even my selection for Brazil began here. I will carry this club with me for the rest of my life and I will always keep an eye on it. I’m very happy, very, very happy for this opportunity. I’m very grateful to Ajax for the opportunities they gave me. I have grown to love the club. I am grateful for everything. It is how it is. Ajax will always be in my heart. I thank everyone. I thank the board, the players and the club. I thank the fans for their warmth. I’m sorry if I failed you but I’m especially thankful for the great reception I got. I will have this club in my heart for the rest of my life. Thank you.”
Having finally secured his move, Ten Hag threw him straight in on Sunday as they welcomed Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side to Old Trafford, and Antony had an immediate impact, opening the scoring on his debut in the 35th minute in what went on to become a 3-1 victory, lifting them into fifth place in the Premier League table and with Europa League already secured this season. Plenty of United fans will be hoping he fires them to needing the expertise of P1 Travel in 2023/24, for their travelling and ticket needs, but not this time for the Europa, but back to the competition a club this huge needs to be in, the Champions League .
Following the win, Ten Hag picked out the new signing and Marcus Rashford for praise, saying.
“They both played great, a continual threat, I know our offensive is really strong – they are creative and have speed. This is the first time they have played together and this performance is great to see.”
He told https://www.skysports.com/manchester-united-news that Antony was now his ‘missing link’ offensively and he was clearly expecting big things from the player moving forward.
“We can make speed and creativity together, he will be a threat in the Premier League. We were missing a player on the right wing, Sancho and Rashford can play there but they prefer the left so now we have the missing link who can play well on the right. He did well but I think he can do better, he had a great goal but all the goals were team goals. It’s a process – you have to lift the standards every day. That is my demand and the players in our team have that demand, we have many players in the team who have won trophies and they have to bring that standard. Get the best out of them every day. We have to think about Europa League – today we will have a short celebration and tomorrow focus will be on the next game.”
The 22-year-old will no doubt have his moments of struggle as he continues adjusting to the league, but you certainly could not have wished for a better start.
Photo by Unsplash