Man Utd transfer news: Erik ten Hag gets it WRONG about Antony again

Cameron Smith
Antony, Erik ten Hag, Man Utd
© ProShots

Antony has struggled to live up to his lofty price tag ever since his move from Ajax to Manchester United in 2022 and his poor form at Old Trafford dates way back to his first few games at the club.

The Brazilian notched only eight goals and three assists in 44 games during his first campaign with the Red Devils and he is yet to produce a single goal contribution in 2023-24.

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Antony has zero goals and zero assists in 21 appearances this season – with his form nosediving amid Man Utd’s struggles.

Man Utd head coach Erik ten Hag has stated that off-field issues have impacted Antony this year, with the Brazilian becoming the subject of a police investigation after three women made allegations of domestic abuse against him.

Ten Hag revealed in a press conference ahead of Man Utd’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday: “I think his off-field issues stop him playing. They have had an impact on him, definitely, so he has to deal with that.

“So he caused them, so he has to sort them out. We will give him all the support but he has to do better.”

These issues happened in September 2023, but information from data analytics experts SciSports suggest that Antony’s struggles at Man Utd date back long before then.

In fact, the Brazilian has essentially flatlined ever since he moved to Old Trafford in 2022. His SciSkill rating was 93.3 when he joined Man Utd and his current SciSkill level is 99.7.

Antony has experienced zero SciSkill development over the past six months, so Ten Hag’s comments match up in that regard, but his issues on the pitch extend way back to the start of his Man Utd career.

Furthermore, Ten Hag also added: “First year he [Antony] was OK, in the pre-season he was very OK, first four games [of this season] he was very good.

“But from the moment he was out and then he came back, he didn’t deliver the performance we should expect from him and he can do so much better.

“His end product in Ajax was very high and he could return to that level. The Premier League is more difficult but he’s capable of doing that.”

However, Antony has shown no proof that he will be able to replicate the form that convinced Man Utd to spend €95 million to sign him.

His Estimated Transfer Value (ETV) has also fallen from a peak of €76.8m in October 2022 to a mere €37.8m and Alejandro Garnacho and Marcus Rashford are clearly Man Utd’s best winger pairing as things stand.

What has been said about Antony’s Man Utd form?

Antony has been a woeful signing, a waste of €95m, and while his first season was okay, it wasn’t worth the money and he has been found out in the Premier League.

Former Man Utd striker Louis Saha even recently admitted (via The Mirror): “There’s a bit of stubbornness in the way Antony plays. When you have a predictable style, you have to change it up. Whether it’s him, his manager or even his entourage, everyone can see he needs to change something.

“But Antony isn’t willing to change. The manager keeps playing him right wing and Antony is sticking to the same thing. I’m sorry, at some point, it becomes the responsibility of the manager because it’s not normal,” he continued.

“It’s difficult to understand how many more games you need in that configuration to see this formula isn’t working for Antony. If Ten Hag still wants to keep Antony on the right wing, I would force him to only train with his right foot for two weeks.

“That will introduce a bit of diversity to his game and he’ll control the ball with his right foot without thinking about it. He might even cross with his right foot and, when he’s struggling on his left, he can do a dummy and go on his right foot.

Antony, Man Utd
© ProShots – Antony, Man Utd

“That’s what his game needs – diversity. Until he understands that, he’ll keep struggling in the Premier League. He needs to be forced to do things that he isn’t comfortable with – it’s got to be an obligation.”

Antony has proven to be a one-trick pony and his lack of real speed or trickery have ensured that he is no longer deemed a threat by opponents and he provides almost no element of fear to the full-backs he faces.

The Brazilian’s struggles at Man Utd have been present ever since he joined and Antony has been an ineffective player at Old Trafford for over a year.

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