Manchester United are set for a busy few hours with targets still to get over the line ahead of the transfer window deadline tonight.
The arrival of Antony in a €100m deal from Ajax has been their biggest signing of the window, adding to the transfers of Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen earlier this summer.
United have picked up some momentum on the field with back-to-back wins over Liverpool and Southampton, and Erik ten Haag‘s side have a testing week ahead starting with a trip to Leicester tonight and then Arsenal on Sunday.
Behind the scenes United may well be putting the finishing touches on some last-gasp transfers, particularly as the uncertainty around Cristiano Ronaldo‘s future continues. Who else might be coming and going before the window closes?
It’s decision day for Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes. The Independent’s Miguel Delaney explained earlier this week that Mendes was making a last-minute attempt to move Ronaldo out on loan to either Napoli or Sporting Lisbon, in order to get his client Champions League football.
As Delaney explains, the extent of Ronaldo’s salary – understood to be more than £500,000 a week – has been one of the major obstacles to a move this summer, with most top clubs feeling his impact is no longer worth the money.
After United announced their agreement with Ajax for AntonyTen Hague indicated Ronaldo would still be needed at Old Trafford this season – despite the 37-year-old starting the last two matches on the bench. “We need numbers there,” Ten Hag said when asked about Ronaldo. “We need not just quantity but quality.”
Erik ten Hag had explored signing a right back ahead of the final two days of the window and The Independent’s Miguel Delaney has reported that Barcelona defender Sergino Dest was identified as the most viable option on the market. The Independent first reported United’s interest in the USA international two weeks ago, and talks have become more concrete since then.
However, Ten Hag has confirmed United will be keeping Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer and, when asked whether Antony and Dubravka’s arrivals would mark the end of their transfer business, said: “I think so, it will be for this window the end, but when there is great opportunity we always have to be alert at this top club . Aaron will stay in. So this squad, we will go from September to at least January, but we will play with this squad this season.”
And this morning it was reported that the full-back will join AC Milan on a season-long loan.
Manchester United have confirmed that they have signed Antony from Ajax. The deal will see United pay a guaranteed €95m (£81.3m), plus a further €5m (£4.2m) in add-ons.
Antony becomes the second player to follow the manager Erik ten Haag from the Dutch champions to Old Trafford following defender Lisandro Martinez. United paid an initial €57.37m (£48.3m) for the Argentina international – a fee that could rise by a further €10m to around £56.7m – and Ajax are now set to land an even bigger windfall.
Antony is the second-most expensive transfer in United’s history, following the world record-breaking £89.6m arrival of Paul Pogba from Juventus in 2016 and could feature against Arsenal on Sunday.
Martin Dubravka is on the brink of moving to Old Trafford after Newcastle and Manchester United agreed terms on a loan deal with an option to buy. United have been insistent on a loan with an option to buy the 33-year-old Slovakian for around £6m, and Dubravka will provide competition for long-time No 1 David de Gea. Interest cooled over Eintracht Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp after the club demanded €25m.
After announcing an agreement had been reached with Ajax for Antony and with Dubravka set for his medical, United’s transfer business in terms of incomings looks to be complete. United though had been interested in PSV Eindhoven’s Cody Gakpo, throughout the summer. Another winger with significant potential, the 23-year-old may still be a target in the future, but the signing of Antony is likely to end any chances of a move this summer.
United may be forced into action if there is competition before the deadline, however. There are a number of clubs circling Gakpo following PSV’s exit from the Champions League, with Everton and Leeds joining Southampton. The Telegraph reports PSV rejected a bid of around £25m from Southampton earlier this week, while transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims Leeds are now the frontrunners.
Memphis is set to remain at Barcelona and see out the remaining year of his contract, according to that Sport in Spain. United had reportedly explored the idea of bringing back the Dutch international to Old Trafford, but there will be no deal.
Manchester United’s summer-long pursuit of Frenkie de Jong is over. Having worked under Ten Hag at Ajax, Miguel Delaney reported last month that De Jong favors a move but is waiting for Barcelona to pay deferred wages as the Catalan club continues to face financial difficulties.
Barcelona may still need to sell De Jong to make their strange summer of business work – as Karl Matchett explains.
Garner has attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs since United indicated that they would listen to offers of around £15m earlier this month. He impressed on loan in the Championship last season, helping Nottingham Forest win promotion through the play-offs, but returned to Old Trafford facing competition for regular minutes.
The arrivals of Casemiro and Christian Eriksen have seen him drop further down the pecking order and Garner was not mentioned by Erik ten Hag when listing his midfield options last week.
Who else could leave?
Marseille have signed a defender Eric Bailly on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move. According to reports, the deal includes an obligation to buy if add-ons are met while Marseille will also cover the 28-year-old’s full wages during the course of the loan. And after clinching Hannibal Mejbri on loan, Birmingham are now chasing his fellow United youngster Tahith Chongon a permanent deal.
What did Erik ten Hag say?
“Will that be the end of the signings? I think so [Antony and Dubravka] for this window, it will be the end. But when there is a great opportunity, you have to be always alert as a top club.”