Football: Manchester United agree deal to sign winger Antony from Ajax

British media reported that the deal for Ajax's Antony would be worth an initial £85.6 million (S$139.4 million). PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Manchester United have reached an agreement to sign Brazil winger Antony from Ajax Amsterdam, the Premier League club said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 30).

Antony, who played under United manager Erik ten Hag at Ajax, registered 12 goals and 10 assists in 33 games in all competitions as the Dutch club won a third straight Eredivisie title and made the last 16 in the Champions League last term.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed but British media reported that it would be worth an initial £85.6 million (S$139.4 million), with a further £4.25 million in add-ons for the 22-year-old.

Antony joined Amsterdam from Sao Paulo in February 2020 and played more than 80 times for Ajax, scoring 25 goals in total.

He has also been capped nine times by Brazil since his debut in 2021, scoring twice.

He will become United's fifth close-season signing following the arrivals of Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro.

The announcement comes at a time when media speculation about the future of forward Cristiano Ronaldo intensifies, with the Portugal player reportedly seeking to leave Old Trafford after the team's failure to qualify for the Champions League.

United are eighth in the Premier League standings with six points from four games so far. They travel to bottom side Leicester City on Thursday.

Two days earlier, Newcastle United visit Liverpool and Magpies manager Eddie Howe said he is hoping club-record signing Alexander Isak will be available for the trip to Anfield due to concerns over his international clearance.

The Swedish striker, who joined from Real Sociedad for a reported £59 million pounds (S$96.1 million), missed out on making his debut in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers as his work permit did not come through in time.

"I still don't know. I desperately hope so - it'd be great to see him involved," Howe told reporters on Tuesday when asked about Isak's availability.

"We're in the hands of other people so we hope it gets done before the game. The cut off is 75 minutes before kick-off so it could go down to the wire.

"We've had minimal training with him between games but what he has done he's done very well. He's looked bright, keen and shown us little flashes because the sessions have been quite light. We're certainly excited by him."

Meanwhile, Chelsea have loaned England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen for the rest of the season, the Premier League club confirmed on Tuesday.

Hudson-Odoi has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge under Thomas Tuchel and was an unused substitute in each of their Premier League games this season.

Chelsea said they retain the right to recall the 21-year-old in January.

Hudson-Odoi has suffered from lengthy injury problems since making his senior Chelsea debut in 2018, most notably an Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for five months.

He has not featured for Chelsea since an FA Cup win over Luton Town at the start of March.

"The move to Germany is really exciting for me and I can play in the Champions League with Bayer Leverkusen," Hudson-Odoi, who has played more than 100 times for Chelsea, said.

"That combination is really attractive and I'm keen to get to know the club, the fans and the Bundesliga."

On the club website, Bayer Leverkusen's sporting managing director Simon Rolfes described Hudson-Odoi as a "fast and penetrative winger".

"He has everything to be able to help us immediately," he said.

"This will give our attacking game another special component. We're very happy this transfer has gone through."

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