Chelsea have spoken to the representatives of Ajax winger Antony as they look to beat Manchester United to the 22-year-old’s signature before the start of next season, according to reports. Antony is said to have emerged as a target for the Red Devils over the last few weeks, with Erik ten Hag believed to be keen on bringing him to Old Trafford as part of the club’s expected summer rebuild.
The United boss managed to extract the best from Antony during his time in charge of Ajax and is said to have earmarked his former player as a priority addition, but it seems as though Chelsea could be gearing up to enter the race for his services in the not-too-distant future. The Blues recently held talks with Antony’s representatives in order to gauge his interest in a potential move to Stamford Bridge, according to 90min.
It is claimed that Chelsea chiefs met up with Antony’s agents while they were visiting the UK to hold preliminary discussions, although United were also said to have taken a similar course of action some weeks ago. The player is thought to be keen on leaving Ajax in search of a fresh challenge after recently informing the Dutch giants of his desire to find a new club at some point over the next few weeks.
Chelsea have been monitoring Antony’s situation for a number of months in their efforts to source attacking reinforcements in advance of the new campaign. The Blues are said to have other irons in the fire, though, with Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling and Barcelona contract rebel Ousmane Dembele also under the microscope in west London.
The latter is currently in talks over a new deal at the Nou Camp but an agreement is yet to be reached between the two parties, with Chelsea still keeping a close eye on the situation. Sterling, meanwhile, has already been sounded out by the two-time European champions and is believed to be weighing up his options in the market ahead of next season.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will be able to snap up Antony from under the noses of United if they decide to firm up their interest in the Brazilian winger over the coming weeks. Former Leeds United striker Noel Whelan recently suggested that Antony could struggle to adapt to the trials and tribulations of English football, though, by highlighting the difference in quality between the Premier League and the Eredivisie.
“There aren’t many sides in the Dutch league who are competitive with the likes of Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord, it’s a huge step to the Premier League,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“Even Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez will be feeling the difference when they come to start the season. It’s a much more competitive and physical league with superstars everywhere.
“For someone coming from the Dutch league, I think he’ll feel the pressure immediately, he’ll see what it’s all about very quickly.”
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