Manchester United are finally close to agreeing a €100 million euro (£84.4m) deal to sign the Ajax forward Antony.
The 22-year-old Brazilian has been the No 1 target of United’s new manage Erik ten Hag all summer although there were fears that Ajax would not sell no matter what United offered.
Now, according to sources in the Netherlands, an outline agreement is at last in place for €100m, including add-ons, for Antony who will sign a five-year deal. United sources are more cautious but believe that a deal is now imminent.
The fee is the same as Ajax have quoted to United throughout this transfer window. Although United have now finally met it, having been set to walk away after an €80m bid was rejected, Ajax have adapted their demands and are accepting an element of performance-related add-ons.
Antony will become United’s third-most expensive ever signing, after Paul Pogba and Harry Maguire.
United’s offer for Antony is expected to be rubber-stamped at an Ajax board meeting on Sunday with the player having pleaded again on Friday to be allowed to leave and join United. Antony was left out of the squad for Sunday’s league game away to Utrecht – which Ajax won 2-0 – and has been training on his own. Personal terms have already been agreed between United and Antony’s representatives.
For the first time there is widespread confidence at United that the deal will be completed before Thursday’s transfer deadline after Ajax reluctantly accepted it was too much money to turn down. They have already sold defender Lisandro Martinez to United for a fee that could rise to €67m (£56.8m).
Antony was a key player for Ten Hag at Ajax, scoring 12 goals last season mainly from the right wing, and United agreeing the deal is a clear sign of them backing their manager. The club are also moving for Newcastle United goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, to provide competition for David de Gea, and are considering signing a right-back, a midfielder or possibly even another forward before the transfer deadline.