Watch: Rio Ferdinand reacts to Man Utd’s Antony announcement
After a hugely drawn-out and dramatic transfer saga, Manchester United have finally announced the signing of Brazilian winger Antony from Ajax. United legend Rio Ferdinand has given his thoughts on the deal in a new YouTube video.
United made absolutely no secret of the fact that they were chasing Antony all summer, with reports regularly surfacing about a new bid or some supposed progress.
Finally, Antony came out at the end of last week to make his personal feelings on the matter clear.
Antony told Fabrizio Romano: “In June of this summer, I interrupted my vacation and came personally to inform the managers of Ajax, including the new coach, of my wish to leave and that they should consider this possibility because when I started in Amsterdam, it was a project for two seasons.
“And during the window months, meetings concluded, including a proposal from Ajax for a contract renewal. I made it clear once again – I want to leave the club.
“Today [Friday], in a meeting with the club’s board of directors, I expressed my old interest in leaving the club, only this time with a considerable offer on the table.”
It seems that got the desired response from both Manchester United and Ajax, as the Brazilian’s move has now been confirmed after the two clubs agreed a fee of £85.3million.
It is a substantial sum – the highest ever paid for an Eredivisie player. And now Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has given his thoughts on Antony’s arrival.
In a video on the FIVE YouTube channel, Ferdinand said: “We’ve been waiting for this, man. All Man United fans around the world I’m sure will be delighted, relieved, that Erik ten Hag and Man United have finally got their man.
“I think £85million is the rumoured number, it’s around that figure. Ajax were stubborn and rightly so. It’s within their rights to do that.
“But this is a fantastic signing for Man United, it’s a statement. Man United are backing their manager in the transfer window.”
Ferdinand then moved onto what Antony will add to this United team, stating: “He brings trickery, he brings that unpredictable Brazilian element. A fantastic technical football player.
“He plays on the right-hand side of the front three, cutting in on his left foot… and he’s just a box full of tricks. He’s someone who wants to beat people, but he can create. He’s got an eye for a pass as well, he can slide balls through for the attacking players…
“He likes to tease players, to bring players towards him, which creates space behind and that allows him to find the runners with the great vision he has… He’s going to get fans off their seat at Old Trafford, I’m sure.”
Ferdinand was realistic though – he knows the 22-year-old Brazilian has room for improvement. Ferdinand said Antony needs to work on “his stats, end product. Assists and goals.
“I think he got double figures [for goals] at Ajax the last two seasons, while he’s been there. I think he got 10 and 12 [goals in the last two seasons, ed.: actually 11 and 12] were the numbers. I think assists very similar [numbers] as well…
“He’s got to drill himself to make sure he drives those stats up.”
Ferdinand added: “People need to understand, ‘Oh, you’re paying £85million.’
“He’s not the end product. he’s going to make mistakes. He’s gonna do things that might frustrate. He’s gonna do things that you go, ‘Hmm, I’m not sure about that.’ But he’s 22 years old and he’s going to improve…
“I think we have to forget the price tag. I was with Scholesy [Paul Scholes] yesterday and he made a good point. Just because he’s £85million, that doesn’t mean you have to have everything immediately right now. And we shouldn’t expect it all to be there. He’s 22 years old.”
You can watch the full video and hear more of Ferdinand’s thoughts here.