Manchester United are already preparing for life after Cristiano Ronaldo, say reports, after the Portuguese striker submitted a stunning transfer request on Saturday.
A report revealed that the 37-year-old has asked to be allowed to leave (opens in new tab) if an acceptable offer comes in.
He wants to play Champions League football next season, believing he still has another “three or four years” left at the top level.
According to the Sunday Mirror (opens in new tab), United boss Erik ten Hag will act quickly by encouraging the Old Trafford hierarchy to bring in Ajax winger Antony as Ronaldo’s replacement.
The Dutch club’s £70 million demands for the Brazil international earlier this summer were considered too steep, but Ten Hag wants the club to press ahead with their pursuit if Ronaldo goes.
But United have continued to insist that Ronaldo isn’t for sale, amid links with Chelsea and Bayern Munich.
Several of Ten Hag’s former players, including Frenkie de Jong, Lisandro Martinez (opens in new tab), Jurrien Timber and Antony, have been among United’s targets this summer.
Antony scored eight goals in 23 Eredivisie games for Ten Hag’s title-winning Ajax side last season.
The 22-year-old winger has a contract in Amsterdam until 2025 and is valued at £31.5 million by online portal Transfermarkt.
More Manchester United stories
Frenkie de Jong has been United's top target this summer and the Red Devils are close to agreeing a deal - although they remain willing to walk away if the price isn't right (opens in new tab) and Harry Maguire even came up in talks at one point. (opens in new tab)
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.