As the most expensive signing by any club in the 2022 summer transfer window, it’s safe to say that expectations will be high as far as the impact that Brazilian Antony can have on Manchester United in 2022/23.
The 22-year-old was the exclamation point on a summer during which new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag attempted to upgrade the squad in the hope of injecting new life into a club coming off its worst Premier League finish.
Alongside bringing in Christian Eriksen and Real Madrid’s Casemiro, Ten Hag raided his former club Ajax, for Lisandro Martinez and Antony.
Martinez has enjoyed a solid first month in Manchester, but Antony faces the prospect of performing under the pressure of a £90.5 million ($104.5m) price tag.
Antony’s arrival is United’s second highest ever transfer outlay, behind Paul Pogba’s £94.5 million return to the club from Juventus in 2016, and he went straight into the side for his club debut at home to Arsenal on Sunday, September 4.
MORE: Antony’s contract, salary and shirt number with Man United
United confirmed a transfer fee was agreed with Ajax on August 30, but the final deal was only confirmed on Transfer Deadline Day (September 1).
The 22-year-old has signed a five-year contract, with the option for an additional 12 months at Old Trafford, as Ten Hag looks to build his attack around the former Sao Paulo forward.
📞 Calling: @Antony00 🇧🇷
Welcome to United ❤️ #MUFC
Antony’s paperwork was not completed in time to feature in Thursday’s 1-0 Premier League away win over Leicester City, but his work permit has since been completed.
MORE: Why did Man United pay so much for Antony?
Despite the speculation linking him with United earlier in the summer, Antony continued to feature for Ajax in the opening weeks of the 2022/23 Dutch season.
Ten Hag’s replacement as Ajax manager, Alfred Schreuder, kept Antony in the starting XI, and the player scored a goal in his team’s Johan Cruyff Shield defeat to PSV Eindhoven. He also logged two full 90 minutes in Ajax’s opening two Eredivisie games.
But with negotiations heating up, Antony had not featured as much of late. His last Ajax match action came in the 6-1 win over FC Groningen back on August 14.
MORE: Most expensive signings of the 2022 summer window
Prior to the match, Ten Hag has confirmed that Antony has begun training with the club, but he only had three sessions under his belt prior to United’s next game, a matchup against Premier League leaders Arsenal.
The Dutchman was asked about his plans for Antony ahead of the Arsenal game, and he is keeping his options open.
“We have to see,” Ten Hag said. “He did today [Thursday] his first training — individual. We have two team sessions and we will see for Sunday.”
Ultimately, Ten Hag displayed a confidence in his new signing, sending him straight into the starting lineup against the Gunners. Antony was named in the Starting XI, deployed out wide on the right in support of Marcus Rashford up front. He found the back of the net, with Rashford sliding the ball wide to Antony who finished cooly for the game’s opening goal on 36 minutes.
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Antony is the 21st player to score on their @premierleague debut for @ManUtd. pic.twitter.com/4RRSSBkCQC
⚠️ | QUICK STAT
Antony has now played four matches in 2022/23:
⚽️ v PSV
🅰️ v Fortuna Sittard
⚽️🅰️ v Groningen
⚽️ v Arsenal
A dream debut at Old Trafford. 🇧🇷🔴#MUNARS pic.twitter.com/Dlr6VSiSMt
Ten Hag has made six signings in the summer transfer window, with goalkeeper Martin Dubravaka joining on loan hours after the Antony deal was confirmed, and the Dutch manager has proceeded with caution so far when it comes to club debuts.
Martinez and Eriksen (above) both started in United’s 2-1 opening weekend defeat to Brighton, and the duo has been part of every Premier League starting XI to this point.
Tyrell Malacia impressed after being handed his first start in the 2-1 win against arch rivals Liverpool, following two cameos from the bench. But Casemiro is yet to start a game, with 40 minutes of combined substitute action.