Man Utd have failed to make an even better signing than Antony

De Jong quizzed on Man Utd transfer links in June

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Manchester United’s transfer business seems to be done for the summer. Antony is likely to be followed by Martin Dubravka, with the Brazil international officially unveiled earlier today. However, while a deal for the Samba star is an exciting one, snapping up Frenkie de Jong would have been even better…

Time is running out for Manchester United to sign De Jong.

And it doesn’t appear likely they’ll be able to land the 25-year-old before tonight’s 11pm transfer deadline, with Barcelona expecting the player to stay.

On Friday, Ten Hag hinted United could be active today. But he was also keen to stress that he wasn’t expecting any more signings, in addition to the deals for Dubravka and Antony.

“I think so, for this window it will be the end,” Ten Hag said. “But when there is opportunity you have to be always alert.

“Aaron [Wan-Bissaka] will stay in. This squad we will go from September to minimum January.”

Antony represents good business for United. He has the potential to be a superstar in the future and flourished under Ten Hag at Ajax, scoring eight goals and clocking up four assists last term.

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But arguably an even better signing than the 24-year-old would have been De Jong.

Ten Hag was adamant the Netherlands international must be recruited this summer to accelerate progress at Old Trafford.

In the eyes of the 52-year-old, De Jong is a special and unique player. There’s nobody like him the whole of world football, which may explain their prolonged approach.

United didn’t just spend mere weeks pursuing De Jong. Their chase lasted for months, with John Murtough and Richard Arnold working around the clock.

And while their transfer window has been something of a success, there’s still a sense they need more.

United still miss a midfield conductor, like club legends Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes. Somebody to help the match tick along.

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Christian Eriksen has been charged with that responsibility, with the Denmark international doing well enough so far.

However, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that the former Tottenham and Inter Milan star is better further up the pitch – in an area often occupied by Bruno Fernandes.

Eriksen is being asked to evolve and there have been promising signs of improvement over the last two matches.

Yet United still require a De Jong, a player who can travel with the ball, create chances and be defensively diligent all in equal measure.

Casemiro is a world-class acquisition, make no mistake about it.

But handing a five-year contract to a 30-year-old, regardless of their skillset, represents a risky move that could come back to bite them further down the line.

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United did everything possible to sign De Jong this summer.

Ten Hag was encouraged by his close relationship with the midfielder, having previously managed his fellow Dutchman at Ajax.

United even agreed a fee with Barcelona, with the Red Devils prepared to pay an overall £72m to bring De Jong in after add-ons and bonuses.

But the Red Devils are primed to end the transfer window without their top target.

And talented though Antony is, significantly more investment is required. If the Glazers stop now, the Red Devils will just fall further behind their rivals.

Antony, meanwhile, has thanked Ten Hag for his support after becoming United’s fifth signing of the transfer window.

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“Really, really, really grateful and happy,” he said when asked how he feels after Ten Hag fought for his arrival.

“I embraced him just now and thanked him in person for believing in my signing.

“I was really excited and looking forward to coming here and putting on this shirt.

“I’m grateful for the faith and confidence from Erik, not just Erik but all the directors here at Manchester United.

https://sportslifetale.com/soccer/man-utd-have-failed-to-make-an-even-better-signing-than-antony/

“I feel really grateful and happy and rest assured I will repay this faith on the pitch by giving 100 per cent.”

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