Man Utd To Sign Brazil Forward Antony For 100m Euros

Ajax’s Brazilian midfielder Antony Matheus Dos Santos celebrates after scoring the 2-1 goal during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and FC Groningen at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam, on August 14, 2022. (Photo by MAURICE VAN STEEN / ANP / AFP)

 

 

Manchester United have reached an agreement to sign Brazil forward Antony Matheus Dos Santos from Ajax, the English Premier League club announced Tuesday.

Ajax said they have agreed a transfer fee of 95 million euros (£81 million). Including add-ons, the fee could rise to 100 million euros (£86 million).

Dutch national news agency ANP said that if the deal goes through, it will be a record for an Eredivisie player, surpassing the 86 million euros maximum value of Frenkie de Jong’s move from Ajax to Barcelona three years ago.

Antony has scored 31 goals in 134 club appearances for Ajax and Sao Paulo, and two goals in nine senior appearances for Brazil.

By moving to Old Trafford, the 22-year-old will be reunited with former Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, who has already brought defender Lisandro Martinez to United from the Dutch giants.

“Since February of this year, my agents came to Amsterdam to inform Ajax of my desire to leave the club to face a new challenge and that some interested clubs would arrive and, with them, certainly a great offer,” Antony said via Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano on YouTube over the weekend, as he made clear his intention to leave the side.

“During the window months, meetings concluded including a proposal from Ajax for a contract renewal. I made it clear once again I want to leave the club.

“Today in a meeting with the board I expressed my interest in leaving the club, this time with a considerable offer on the table. Others have already arrived (but) Ajax always refuses with the argument it only has five days to replace (me).

“I’m not asking (for Ajax) to release me, I am asking Ajax to sell me for the highest bid received for a player who plays in the Eredivisie.”

Antony added: “I was very happy in Amsterdam. I won titles at Ajax, made friends and built part of my career, but now I reinforce that I am ready and full of motivation to follow my story and my dreams…Ajax will always be in my heart.”

The transfer window closes on Thursday evening, when United will be in Leicester seeking a third successive Premier League victory. It is unlikely Antony will be involved against the Foxes, currently bottom of the table.

United started the season with humiliating defeats by Brighton and Brentford only to bounce back with a 2-1 win over bitter rivals Liverpool and last weekend’s tough 1-0 win away to Southampton.

Martinez, Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro have already arrive at Old Trafford during this transfer window.

Manchester United Agree $99m Deal For Ajax Winger Antony – Reports

File photo of Ajax Brazilian winger, Antony Santos. Credit: @antony00

 

Manchester United have agreed a fee that could rise to £85 million ($99 million) to sign Ajax’s Brazilian winger Antony, reports said Monday.

The Premier League giants have agreed to pay £80.75 million, with a further £4.25 million in add-ons, the BBC, Sky Sports and other British media said ahead of the transfer window closing on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Antony could be the second player to follow United manager Erik ten Hag from the Dutch champions to Old Trafford following the arrival of defender Lisandro Martinez.

READ ALSO: Retirement: How Serena Williams Legacy Spans Present, Future

Tyrell Malacia, Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro have arrived so far this summer and Ten Hag is hoping to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the Portuguese wanting to leave to play Champions League football.

The 37-year-old was on the bench for United’s 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday before making a largely anonymous substitute appearance in the second half.

United remain adamant that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is not for sale in the second season of his second spell with the club.

“We played with him, so we want him to stay. That is what we want. I hope so,” Ten Hag said.

United will attempt to win a third successive Premier League match at Leicester City on Thursday, hours before the transfer window closes at 2200 GMT.

AFP

Rangnick Relieved To Secure Europa League Spot For Man Utd

File photo: ex-Manchester United German Interim head coach Ralf Rangnick leaves the field of play after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 5, 2021. Paul ELLIS / AFP

 

Ralf Rangnick admitted he was relieved Manchester United qualified for next season’s Europa League despite their 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

Rangnick finished his troubled spell as United’s interim manager by securing sixth place in the Premier League.

United did little to help themselves, losing to a goal from their former forward Wilfried Zaha while incoming boss Erik ten Hag watched from the stands at Selhurst Park.

Brighton’s 3-1 win against West Ham proved crucial for United as it kept the Hammers below them in seventh place.

With United avoiding the ignominy of playing in the Europa Conference League next season, Rangnick will step down to work as a consultant at Old Trafford while also coaching Austria.

Ten Hag will start work at United shortly, having led Ajax to the Dutch title.

“Yes, I think Brighton did us the favour to turn the game around because they were losing at half-time,” said Rangnick.

“They scored three times in the second half and that was the good thing about the weekend and about this fixture.

“We would have loved to take care of ourselves but in a way the game was indicative of the last couple of weeks.”

READ ALSOArsenal Miss Out On Champions League For Fifth Season In A Row

Rangnick said it had been a strange experience for him since being appointed as a stop gap manager in late November when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was fired.

“It was a new experience for me, not necessarily coming in the middle of the season but knowing that it would be an interim role.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have any pre-season and unfortunately we couldn’t strengthen the squad.

“We collected enough points with an average of 2.1 until the game against Atletico but I think that defeat in the Champions League was in a way like somebody popped the balloon.”

Rangnick did not hold back in his assessment of a United squad that lost focus after they exited the Champions League against Atletico Madrid in March.

“I think the big goal of some of our top players was the Champions League and after this defeat to Atletico you could literally feel it in training that we did not have the same level of energy, focus and concentration,” he said.

While Ten Hag was at Palace, he did not go into the United dressing room.

Rangnick will warn his successor he must improve United’s team-spirit when they speak in the coming days.

“Team spirit, yes this is also an issue. I think this team could do with more cohesion, there could be more togetherness on the pitch,” he said.

AFP

Liverpool And Ajax Qualify For Champions League Last 16

Liverpool’s Portuguese striker Diogo Jota (2R) celebrates scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League group B football match between Liverpool and Atletico Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, northwest England on November 3, 2021.
Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Liverpool and Ajax both won on Wednesday to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League with two group games to spare.

Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane scored to give Liverpool a 2-0 win over 10-man Atletico Madrid at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s side kept up their perfect record to secure top spot in Group B.

Ajax came from behind to win 3-1 at 10-man Borussia Dortmund, Sebastien Haller scoring his seventh Champions League goal this season as the Dutch side sealed their progress from Group C.

Ajax Suffer COVID-19 Setback With 11 Players To Miss Midtjylland Clash

Ajax Amsterdam’s head coach Erik Ten Hag (R) and Dutch defender Perr Schuurs address a press conference at the MCH Arena stadium in Herning, Denmark on November 2, 2020, on the eve of the UEFA Champions League Group D football match between FC Midtjylland and Ajax Amsterdam.
Henning Bagger / Ritzau Scanpix / AFP

 

Ajax have become the latest Champions League club to be hit by coronavirus with captain Dusan Tadic and goalkeeper Andre Onana and 9 others testing positive ahead of their tie against FC Midtjylland, according to news reports 

Ten Hag, at a press conference ahead of the Group D encounter, remained vague about the players and their Covid-19 status, and why they could not travel to play at the MCH Arena in the western Danish city of Herning.

“There are a number of players who did not get permission to enter Denmark to play here. They are allowed to play in the Netherlands but not in Denmark,” Ten Hag said at the live-streamed conference.

Pressed for a reason Ten Hag said: “I can’t say anything about the exact reasons and I’m also not going to comment on individuals because of privacy reasons.”

“All I know is that they did not get permission to enter Denmark,” he said.

Ten Hag then added “it has to do with testing. All I can say is the players affected by this are healthy in the sense that they don’t have any symptoms or complaints.”

Denmark enforces stricter anti-coronavirus rules than many other European countries.

It could be that some players who tested positive before still have residual traces of the virus showing up in blood tests, even though they have recovered completely, the RTL Nieuws private broadcaster said.

“I find this rather odd,” said Ten Hag.

“We are playing in a European competition. But European countries have different rules when it comes to corona,” he said.

“That’s strange and it is not fair play either,” added Ten Hag.

Dutch news reports say the missing players are now pinning their hopes on a second test, hoping that would come up negative.

“I am therefore hopeful that they will still be welcome on Tuesday,” Ten Hag said, adding “we are still working on it”.

-AFP

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Ajax Smash 13 Past Venlo, Break 48-Year Record

Ajax’ Dutch forward Klaas Jan Huntelaar (2R) scores the 0-11 goal during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between VVV Venlo and Ajax Amsterdam at De Koel stadium in Venlo, south-eastern Netherlands, on October 24, 2020.  Olaf KRAAK / ANP / AFP

 

Ajax broke their own 48-year Eredivisie record on Saturday when they hammered Venlo 13-0 in the biggest ever win in the history of the division.

Lassina Traore struck five times as the defending champions outdid Johan Cruyff’s Ajax, whose 12-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem has stood as the top flight’s record win since May 1972 — the season the Amsterdam club won the league title and the second of their four European Cups.

The 19-year-old’s goals were the first of the league campaign and put him one behind Feyenoord’s Steven Berghuis who leads the scoring charts.

Venlo’s defender Tobias Pachonik (L) fights for the ball with Ajax’ forward Dusan Tadic during the Dutch Eredivisie football match between VVV Venlo and Ajax Amsterdam at the Covebo stadium De Koel, in Venlo on October 24, 2020.  Olaf KRAAK / ANP / AFP

 

He is also the first Ajax player to score five goals in an Eredivisie game since Marco van Basten in 1985.

The incredible win puts Erik ten Hag’s Ajax top of the division, two points ahead of PSV Eindhoven and three in front of third-placed Vitesse with both of those sides facing off at Sunday lunchtime in the sixth round of matches of the 2020/21 season.

Feyenoord and FC Twente, who take on FC Utrecht on Saturday, are four points further back.

Venlo are in mid-table on five points with a goal difference of -13 after conceding more than half of all the goals scored against them this season in just one match.

They have not won since the opening day of the season.

Jurgen Ekkelenkamp gave Ajax the lead after 13 minutes when he touched home Traore’s close-range header, and the Burkina Faso international turned from provider to finisher four minutes later when he headed home Antony’s curling cross.

Traore had the easiest of tap-ins to make it 3-0 in the 32nd minute, and Dusan Tadic ended the match as a contest a minute before the break when he span on the edge of the area and forced a low shot home.

Christian Kum was handed a straight red card six minutes after the break and after that the floodgates opened, with forward Traore completing his hat-trick two minutes later and Ajax scoring three more times in five minutes to take their tally to eight.

Antony laid on a headed goal that was an almost carbon copy of his first in the 65th minute and then substitute Klaas-Jan Huntelaar broke the double figures barrier from the spot with 16 minutes remaining before tapping home his second just two minutes later.

It only took another two minutes for demoralised Venlo to concede a 12th, Lisandro Martinez strolling towards the area and curling home a smooth finish, and Traore completed the destruction with three minutes remaining when he lashed home his fifth on the counter.

AFP

Barcelona Sign Defender Sergino Dest From Ajax

PHOTO CREDIT: F.C BARCELONA

 

Barcelona have completed the signing of Ajax defender Sergino Dest, the clubs announced on Thursday. 

The deal will include Barca paying 21 million euros for the 19-year-old, with a further five million euros in variables.

“The player will sign a contract for the next five seasons, through to the end of the 2024/25 season, with a buyout clause set at 400 million euros,” Barca added in a statement.

Dest will offer competition at right-back after Nelson Semedo was sold to Wolves. He made 35 appearances for Ajax last season, after making his debut in July.

The United States international becomes Barcelona’s fifth arrival of the transfer window, joining Miralem Pjanic, Trincao, Pedri and Matheus Fernandes in moving to Camp Nou.

The signing also continues the club’s attempts to refresh the squad.

“It’s a matter of changing things, having young players for the future of this Barca,” said Ronald Koeman on Wednesday, when asked about Dest.

Barcelona’s statement added: “Sergino Dest combines many excellent qualities needed in a full back: attacking when called for, solid defensively, unruffled in possession and creative with it.

“The defender has the ability to take players on and his pace is a virtue going forward and defending. Those qualities will be on display from now on in a Barca shirt, a challenge for a fearless young full-back.”

Ajax Attacker Ziyech Set To Move To Chelsea – Report

 

Ajax attacking midfielder Hakim Ziyech is set to move to Chelsea in the summer after the clubs agreed to a deal in principle, a Dutch newspaper reported Wednesday.

The daily tabloid De Telegraaf said the Amsterdam powerhouse and the London club had agreed on a fee believed to be around 45 million euros ($50 million) for the 26-year-old Dutch-born Moroccan.

“Ajax’s management reached an oral agreement over the past 24 hours with the top London club for the Moroccan attacker to make the switch in the summer,” the newspaper said.

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believed Ziyech “is a top player and such an essential reinforcement to his 11 that he gave the club instructions to have a deal done before the summer,” De Telegraaf said.

Clubs can agree and sign transfers outside the English Premier League’s January transfer window, but players may not be registered with new clubs until it opens again in the summer.

Ajax declined to comment on the report.

“As always we can’t comment on rumours. Any news will be reported through the official Ajax channels,” an Ajax spokesman told AFP.

Ajax is known for selling home-grown talent to richer European clubs. After last season, they sold Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus and Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona.

De Telegraaf said the chance to play Champions League football at Chelsea was “an important condition” for Ziyech, who has scored a total of 47 goals in 157 appearances for Ajax.

Ajax reached the semi-final of the competition last year, but this season they were eliminated in the group stage, in part because they lost at home to Chelsea and later threw away a three-goal lead at Stamford Bridge.

The top two finishers in the Dutch league qualify each year and Ajax are top, 10 points clear of third-place Willem II.

Chelsea are fourth in the Premier League, which would earn a Champions League spot, but their poor form has allowed a chasing pack of five clubs to close in.

They are still in this season’s Champions League and could qualify for next season by winning it.

Until Ziyech formally signs a contract “the door was still slightly ajar for other top clubs”, but Ajax did not want a deal with any other club, De Telegraaf said.

Ziyech joined Ajax in 2016 from fellow Eredivisie club FC Twente for a fee of 11 million euros.

Ajax’s Fairytale Champions League Run End After Valencia Defeat

Ajax’ Cameroonian goalkeeper Andre Onana (3rdR) and teammates react after valencia scored the opener during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Ajax Amsterdam and Valencia CF at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on December 10, 2019.
Maurice van STEEN / ANP / AFP

 

Ajax’s hopes of another fairytale run in the Champions League were dashed on Tuesday as a 1-0 defeat at home to Valencia sent them crashing out and the Spaniards through to the last 16. 

Rodrigo Moreno’s 24th-minute strike proved the winner at the Johan Cruyff Arena and enough to flip the top three in Group H, with Valencia advancing in first place along with Chelsea, who beat bottom club Lille 2-1.

Ajax were arguably the story of the competition last season when their youthful team went all the way to the semi-finals but there will be no repeat this year.

Gabriel Paulista was sent off in injury-time but even against 10 men, they could not find the equaliser they needed.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Edge Past Lille, Qualify For Champions League Last 16

Instead, Valencia not only progress but have earned themselves the best chance of a kind draw when the knock-out stage is decided in Nyon on December 16.

It seemed unlikely after they missed a series of golden opportunities to beat Chelsea earlier this month but a 2-2 draw still left them with a chance, even if the odds were not in their favour.

They knew they either had to beat Ajax, against whom they had lost 3-0 at home in October, or at least match the result of Chelsea, who always seemed likely to win against Lille at Stamford Bridge.

Ajax, meanwhile, began the night two points clear at the top of the group and needed only a draw to go through.

Valencia coach Albert Celades, who made his La Liga debut as a player under Cruyff, was now in the dugout of the stadium named after the iconic Dutchman and this will be a major boost for his side, who are eighth in La Liga after a rocky start to the season on and off the pitch.

Ajax sit three points clear at the top of the Eredivisie but last year’s heroics in the Champions League, and their heartbreaking defeat to Tottenham, meant they had European ambitions too.

Rodrigo headed wide from a corner early on but after a frantic start, the game settled, with Ajax dominating possession and Valencia trying to counter-attack.

Against the run of play, Valencia took the lead as Rodrigo’s bending run in behind was picked out by a Ferran Torres pass. Rodrigo controlled with his left and fired the ball with his right into the roof of the net.

Ajax had to wait until the end of the half for their best chance as Donny van de Beek latched onto Hakim Ziyech’s pass and lifted the ball over Jaume Domenech, only for Jose Gaya to make a brilliant clearance off the line.

Rodrigo might have made it two at the other end but it was Ajax that were pushing for an equaliser after the restart as Valencia retreated.

Ziyech should have levelled but fluffed his finish at the near post before 20-year-old Noa Lang hooked over from inside the box.

Lille pulled a goal back away at Chelsea to give Ajax further hope and they were almost gifted an equaliser by Valencia’s Daniel Wass, who chesting the ball away from his own goalkeeper.

Ziyech went close with a shot towards the near post and, three minutes into injury-time, Gabriel was sent off for thrusting his head into Dusan Tadic.

It left Valencia to defend two minutes, and a corner, with 10 men but Ajax could not find a way through.

AFP

Ajax Reappoint Van der Sar As Chief Executive Until 2023

Photo: AFC Ajax Twitter Page

 

Former Netherlands goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was reappointed as Ajax chief executive until 2023, the club announced on Friday.

The 49-year-old has been in charge at the Johan Cruyff Arena since 2016, helping the club win last season’s Dutch league title and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Ajax said they will extend Van der Sar’s contract by four years until November 2023.

“Very happy with my contract extension at this beautiful club,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We’ve had some difficult moments, but the good times are definitely back. And of course, we want more in the future.”

READ ALSO: Man City Lose Appeal To CAS Over Financial Fair-Play Investigation

Van der Sar played for Ajax from 1990-1999, winning the Champions League in 1995.

He went on to lift the European Cup again in 2008 with Manchester United after spells at Juventus and Fulham.

Van der Sar returned to Ajax in 2012 as director of marketing before being promoted four years later to CEO.

He is also the second-highest capped Netherlands player of all-time with 130 international appearances.

AFP

Chelsea Fightback Salvages 4-4 Draw Against Nine-Man Ajax

Chelsea’s Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta (C) celebrates after thinking he’s scored their fifth goal but it is disallowed by the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) during the UEFA Champion’s League Group H football match between Chelsea and Ajax at Stamford Bridge in London on November 5, 2019.
Adrian DENNIS / AFP

 

Chelsea fought back from 4-1 down to salvage a 4-4 draw against nine-man Ajax as a memorable night at Stamford Bridge left both sides with work to do to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Frank Lampard’s men seemed destined for a second straight home defeat in Europe as first-half own goals from Tammy Abraham and Kepa Arrizabalaga added to Quincy Promes’ header and predatory finish from Donny Van der Beek to hand the Dutch champions a 4-1 lead.

However, after Cesar Azpilicueta brought Chelsea back into the game at 4-2, the visitors were reduced to nine men by second yellow cards for Daley Blind and Joel Veltman in the move that led to the hosts being awarded their second penalty of the night.

Jorginho had briefly brought Chelsea level at 1-1 from the spot in the first half and converted once more.

Reece James then levelled for the Blues and only VAR denied Chelsea a famous victory when Azpilicueta’s strike was ruled out for a handball by Abraham.

Both sides are now locked on seven points at top of Group H with Valencia, who were 4-1 winners over Lille.

Chelsea had won their previous seven Premier and Champions League games with Lampard’s young side earning rave reviews for their attacking intent.

The former England international hailed his side’s 1-0 victory in Amsterdam two weeks ago as the best of his Chelsea tenure to date for the way they added a defensive resolve to their attacking verve.

Chelsea Defensive Lapses

Two weeks on, they were easily undone from crosses as Ajax went in front inside two minutes when Promes’ free-kick flicked off Abraham and into his own net.

Chelsea responded immediately as Christian Pulisic’s promising form of recent weeks continued with a powerful run into the box before he was brought down by Veltman.

Jorginho coolly slotted home the resulting spot-kick and Chelsea had the ball in the net again moments later but Abraham was rightly flagged offside.

Just as Chelsea were beginning to wrestle control, Ajax retook the lead with a wicked cross from Hakim Ziyech picking out Promes to head home.

Ziyech was the creator once more 10 minutes before half-time when his sensational free-kick from near the right touchline came back off the post and rebounded in off goalkeeper Arrizabalaga’s face.

Chelsea started the second half strongly, but any hope of a comeback appeared to have gone when Van de Beek, who scored a number of vital goals on Ajax’s run to the last four last season, rifled home another Ziyech assist.

To their credit, Chelsea never gave up even after an injury to Mason Mount threatened to compound a miserable night.

Azpilicueta sparked the fightback by prodding in at the back post after Abraham had flicked Pulisic’s low cross goalwards.

Then a minute of madness turned the game on its head 20 minutes from time as Ajax had Blind and Veltman sent-off and conceded a second penalty.

Blind was shown a second yellow card for bringing down Abraham and, as the advantage was played, Veltman handled Callum Hudson-Odoi’s shot inside his own box and was also booked for the second time.

Jorginho calmly sent Andre Onana the wrong way from the spot to make it 3-4.

Three minutes later, Lampard’s men were level when James smashed home after Kurt Zouma’s header came off the bar.

Azpilicueta thought he had completed the comeback only for his second goal of the night to be ruled out for a handball by Abraham after a VAR review.

Hudson-Odoi fired inches wide and Onana made a brilliant save to deny Michy Batshuayi a winner in a frantic finale, but Ajax held out for what in the end was a welcome point after an eight-goal thriller.

Lampard Proud Of ‘Best Win’ As Chelsea Manager

 

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard hailed his side’s 1-0 victory at Ajax in the Champions League as his best yet in charge of the Blues.

Lampard made a telling impact with his substitutions at the Johan Cruyff Arena as Christian Pulisic set up Michy Batshuayi to score the winner four minutes from time.

After a difficult start to his first season in charge at Stamford Bridge, Lampard has now masterminded six straight wins in all competitions.

“It is (the best win),” the former England midfielder told BT Sport. “I’m so happy, I knew how tough this game would be.

“To play and beat them and deserve to beat them means we are absolutely top all over the pitch. I was so, so proud of the performance.”

READ ALSO: Batshuayi Fires Chelsea To Late Ajax Win

Victory in Amsterdam puts Chelsea level with last season’s Champions League semi-finalists on six points at the top of Group H and back on track to make the last 16 after a home defeat to Valencia on matchday one.

“It was very important after losing the first game against Valencia,” said Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta.

“We showed a great ability to control the game after the first 15-20 minutes.

“We had a lot of chances to win the game, we were brave, we pressed high and very happy to get a late goal from Michy.”

Batshuayi has had to be patient for his chance to shine under Lampard with Tammy Abraham’s fine form keeping the Belgian international on the sidelines.

Lampard introduced Batshuayi ahead of French international Olivier Giroud for the final 20 minutes and he had the desired effect by smashing in off the underside of the bar from Pulisic’s cut-back.

“The other two (Giroud and Batshuayi) stay patient, work hard, support the group and have talent. He’s waited for his moment and fully deserved it,” added Lampard.