While it certainly wasn’t the individual campaign that Antony had hoped for, the Brazilian striker did show glimpses of his quality. The striker has shown at times why the club were so desperate to bring him to Old Trafford, but now he needs to start delivering consistently.
The 23-year-old was always Erik ten Hag’s priority target in attack last summer, and after United’s disastrous defeats to Brighton and Brentford, it was clear the Reds needed reinforcements. In the end, it was no surprise that Antony ended up going to Old Trafford, but after earlier bids were rejected, the Reds ended up paying Ajax £85.5 million for his services.
His desire to sign for United impressed the club’s hierarchy and the Brazilian ace made the perfect start to life with the Reds. The striker scored in the first three games in the Premier League, but the goals quickly dried up.
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Antony hasn’t scored in the top flight since taking on Everton in October and the winger has also failed to register an assist in that period. Despite this, he was impressive in cup competitions and scored a total of four goals in the FA Cup, Europa League and Carabao Cup.
His two recent goals – against Barcelona and Real Betis in the Europa League – have been the hallmark of Antony’s goals. Both were left-footed shots from the hoop and both gave the opposing goalkeeper no chance. They were perfect examples of why United wanted him in the side.
Antony has looked much better since returning from a leg injury that ruled him out for four games, and his performances in the play-off win over Barcelona and the first leg triumph over Betis in Europe were two of his best in months. With United’s forwards struggling for goals in this period, the pressure on players like Antony was intense.
Next season should be easier for Antony and a few of his other teammates. United are expected to sign a new striker at the end of the campaign, and MEN Sports understand that Harry Kane is Ten Hag’s main attacking target to bolster United’s attack this summer.
Sources say the club are keen to sign the Tottenham Hotspur talisman as the final year of his contract approaches, and with the Reds the only Premier League club the England captain could realistically join, he could potentially be tempted to move.
Bayern Munich are expected to be in the market for the striker, which could also see the Bundesliga giants swoop for the Spurs frontman in the summer. However, with Kane clearly looking to become the league’s all-time top goalscorer – and the London club certain to go a 15th consecutive season without any silverware – he could opt to stay in England.
Landing Kane, who has won three Premier League Golden Boots, would certainly be a tall order. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has repeatedly managed to refuse to sell the club’s most desirable players to their domestic rivals, but with the striker’s contract expiring at the end of next season, this summer could be make or break for the London side.
Kane and Ivan Toney are the only English players to have scored more Premier League goals than Marcus Rashford this season, but the United man boasts a better record in all competitions. The 25-year-old has registered 26 goals and nine assists in 41 appearances this term, with only Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe recording more goals than the Reds man.
While Rashford functioned well as a central striker when called upon, he looked better on the left wing. Should a player like Kane arrive at Old Trafford in the summer, United’s number 10 could focus on providing from the flanks. With the Reds’ next top scorer being Bruno Fernandes with eight, it’s clear that something needs to change before the next campaign.
Regardless of whether or not Kane gets in the door, the striker’s addition will be huge for United. Not only will he help Rashford on the left, but he will also make life easier for the man on the right. It could certainly be Jadon Sancho, but Antony will be hoping it’s him.
If Antony starts to contribute in front of goal, there’s a good chance he’ll cement his place as the first right winger. The fact that he is Ten Hag’s signing undoubtedly gives him an advantage over Sancho. If the Brazilian can indeed find his form in the latter stages of this season, he is likely to be cleared for the start of next season.
Although there is a chance that Ten Hag will not get their first, second or maybe even third striker in the summer, they will certainly sign in that position. With Rashford on the left and a new front man in the middle, Antony will be desperate to ensure he is the man on the right.
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