Manchester United have revealed that summer recruit Antony will wear the number 21 shirt for the 2022-23 season.
The 22-year-old became the Red Devils’ second most expensive player of all time when he officially arrived on transfer deadline day in an £85.5m deal from Ajax.
Erik ten Hag was pursuing a deal for his former Ajax protege all summer long, and the Brazil international has now partaken in training at Carrington ahead of his eventual debut.
There is hope that Antony will be able to feature for Man United for the first time in Sunday’s clash with Arsenal at Old Trafford, and he has been given his shirt number ahead of the contest.
Following Edinson Cavani‘s departure on a free transfer at the end of last season, Antony has taken the number 21 shirt, which does not hold much of a historical value at Old Trafford.
Striker Diego Forlan was a notable bearer of the ’21’ between the 2000-01 and 2004-05 seasons, and the shirt has also been worn by Daniel James, Ander Herrera and Rafael down the years.
Antony donned the number 11 jersey at Ajax during the 2021-22 and start of the 2022-23 seasons, but that shirt is in the possession of Mason Greenwood at Man United, despite his arrest and subsequent suspension earlier this year.
The former Sao Paulo prospect left Ajax after recording 24 goals and 22 assists in 82 games for the Eredivisie champions, and he opened up about his joy in working with Ten Hag again to manutd.com after arriving in Manchester.
“Erik ten Hag is an excellent coach. I’ve got tremendous respect and affection for him. From the moment I arrived at Ajax he treated me so well and put his faith in me,” Antony said.
“It’s not by chance I had such a great run of form under him for two years. We developed this mutual trust and closeness. He’s a manager I have respect and affection for.
“When I found out he was moving here, I wished him all the best and all the success he deserves. Now I’m alongside him again, I hope to make history, develop and grow further under his management.
“I embraced him just now and thanked him in person for believing in my signing. I was really excited, looking forward to coming here and putting on this shirt.
“I’m grateful for the faith and confidence from Erik, not just Erik but all the directors here at Manchester United. I feel really grateful and happy and rest assured I will repay this faith on the pitch by giving 100 per cent.”
Man United currently occupy eighth spot in the Premier League table but could end Sunday as high as fourth if they prevail against Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion fail to beat Leicester City.
Anthony Martial‘s absence through an Achilles injury has opened the door for Antony to make the squad, but Ten Hag has fired a selection warning to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has spent most of the new season on the substitutes’ bench.