Ajax ‘couldn’t believe’ how much Manchester United were willing to pay for Antony, claims Gary Neville

The Brazilian is the second-most expensive player in the club's history.

Ajax ‘couldn’t believe’ how much Manchester United were willing to pay for Antony, claims Gary Neville
Manchester United winger Antony
The Brazilian is the second-most expensive player in the club’s history (Picture: Getty)

Gary Neville has claimed Ajax ‘couldn’t believe’ how much Manchester United were willing to pay for Antony and says the club massively overspent on the Brazilian.

Having shone under Erik ten Hag in Amsterdam, Antony was one of the Dutchman’s priority signings in his first transfer window in charge, with the club eventually forking out £85million to sign him just before the deadline after weeks of talks with Ajax.

But Antony netted just seven goals in 39 games in all competitions last season, as well as registering only two assists, while he has failed to score or create a single goal in 10 outings this season.

Neville believes it is now obvious that United overpaid to sign the 23-year-old, with his transfer underlining the club’s recruitment issues, and says neither Antony, Mason Mount or any other recent signings have brought the side closer to becoming title winners.

Speaking to Webby & O’Neill, Neville said: ‘I find it really difficult at this moment in time to judge any player in that dressing room, because I’ve seen them play at higher levels at other clubs.

‘So forget the fees… would I have paid £90m [sic] for Antony? No. No club would. But that’s Manchester United, it’s what we do in this last 10 years, we overpay.

‘And then Mason Mount, would I have said he was a priority in the summer? Probably not. For £55m, I wouldn’t have said that was a priority position because we’ve got [Christian] Eriksen, we’ve got Bruno Fernandes, we’ve got players who can create and move in those types of No.10 spaces.

‘I would have said that probably isn’t a priority for us at this moment in time, but he’s a good football player. Mason Mount is a good football player. And he’s a good professional, so let’s be clear about that.

Manchester United stars Antony and Mason Mount
Injuries have hampered Mount’s start to the season (Picture: Getty)

‘What they [United’s hierarchy] have done, and it’s with this manager again, the manager has had a bit of success and they’ve allowed the manager to dictate the transfer policy.

‘Any club – any club – that operates well has a clear system of play, a clear recruitment strategy and players have to fit into those profiles of positions that they go and chase. Manchester United allow the manager that comes in to too heavily influence the transfers and recruitment of players into the club. That’s a fact.

‘There is no doubt that the club should have been tougher last summer when we got beaten by Brighton and Brentford. There was a big crisis, lots of protests and they went and panicked and bid for Casemiro and Antony. That wasn’t the plan.

‘If you remember, the manager wanted Frenkie de Jong, which was to be fair a very different player than Casemiro.

‘Antony, to be fair, Ajax couldn’t believe that they offered that much money for him. Ajax had already done their business for the summer by letting Lisandro Martinez go for £50m. They’d already got their money.

‘They just said yes because they couldn’t believe [how much was being offered]. They liked Antony, he was a talented player, but they couldn’t believe it was like £80m or £90m – you know, €100m! They couldn’t believe it. You spend €100m and you’re expecting the finished article, aren’t you?

Manchester United winger Antony
Antony struggled to impact Wednesday’s defeat to Newcastle (Picture: Getty)

‘I thought with Antony coming in, with Mount coming in, I thought we would become a real technical, passing team. But we’re not. We’re still a counter-attack team.

‘So I’ve got worries about both, of course I have! We all have! Because we’ve paid £150m for two players that you think, “Can they go on and become players that will win Manchester United the league?” Every player we buy should be a stepping stone towards winning the league, that’s it.

‘When you’re signing a player at United, it should be: does this player get us to compete with Manchester City, with Arsenal, with the other clubs? Now the players that we’ve signed I don’t think do.’

MORE : Manchester United’s stance on sacking Erik ten Hag after Newcastle thrashing

MORE : Gary Neville says Bruno Fernandes doesn’t want to be Manchester United captain and should relinquish armband

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