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Rio Ferdinand addresses Antony’s price tag as attacker nears £85m Manchester United deal

Rio Ferdinand addresses Antony’s price tag as attacker nears £85m Manchester United deal

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand has said that Antony must be given time to adapt to the Red Devils, as the attacker closes in on a switch to Old Trafford.

The 20-time English champions are expected to pay in the region of £85m for the Brazil international, who is undergoing his medical with the club on Monday night.

Antony made it clear at the end of last week that he wanted to leave Ajax this summer, and he is now on the verge of a reunion with Man United head coach Erik ten Hag.

The 22-year-old will leave Ajax having scored 24 goals and registered 22 assists in 82 appearances for the Dutch champions, while he has also won nine caps for Brazil, scoring twice.

However, Ferdinand has said that Antony must be given time to develop in his new surroundings, using Jack Grealish‘s struggles at Manchester City as an example.

Former Manchester United player Rio Ferdinand pictured in April 2019© Reuters

“It’s pressure. These new signings, [Lisandro] Martinez coming in, he looks like he has not got a bit of pressure on him, it’s like you haven’t seen the price tag the way he’s moving at Man United. Antony you hope comes in at the levels he’s coming in £100m or roughly around that figure, that he comes in and that doesn’t weigh heavy on his neck,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe With FIVE podcast.

“You look at Grealish last year, he wasn’t the same Grealish that played at Aston Villa, so it can weigh heavy. He won the league so he’s happy so it doesn’t matter, but sometimes when players come in with the big transfer fees, they don’t play with the freedom that they had before, and that can be a couple of things.

“It can be the price tag weighing heavy and the pressure and the attention of being under the spotlight, a new environment and club and culture that they’re not used to, and a team set up that they’re not used to, those three things are big things that come into play when you sign but you have to have the personality and character to deal with all that, that’s a big thing.

“Antony, people forget as well, you’re spending that money on Antony and he’s not the finished article, 22 years old, so you’re buying potential really at 22 years old to go in and perform, so don’t expect that he’s going to come in and be absolutely fire from the first day.

Ajax attacker Antony pictured on February 23, 2022© Reuters

“Scholesy (Paul Scholes) said it well the other day, you’ve got to forget the price tag nowadays because the prices are just stupid, they’re outlandish and judge them for what they are, who they are and the timing of when they’re coming to the club.

“Martinez is a bit more experienced and you look at Antony and you go, he’s got great potential, let’s see what he can do.”

Man United could potentially confirm Antony’s signature on Tuesday, potentially putting him in line to be involved in Thursday’s Premier League clash with Leicester City.

Ten Hag’s side are also believed to have come to an agreement with Newcastle United over experienced goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, who is set to provide back up for current number one David de Gea.

Man United, who have also signed Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro this summer, will be looking to make it three straight league wins when they head to Leicester before hosting Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

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