Chelsea wanted Manchester United star Antony before Ajax move, reveals scout | Football

epa10160179 Manchester United's Antony (R) before the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, Britain September 04, 2022. EPA/PETER POWELL EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture list, club/league logos or

Antony was a target for Chelsea before joining Manchester United (Image: EPA)

Chelsea wanted Antony long before he joined Manchester United but missed out on his signature, says Blues scout Piet de Visser.

The 22-year-old joined Old Trafford from Ajax this summer for an initial fee of £82m that could rise to over £86m with surcharges.

This came after just two years with the Dutch club, where he scored 25 goals in 82 games and won the Eredivisie twice under Erik ten Hag.

However, things could have turned out very differently as Chelsea were keen on him before his move to Europe and he shone for Sao Paulo and his country’s youth teams.

De Visser was eyeing the talented winger but so was former Ajax chief scout Hans van der Zee and it was the Dutch club who won the race for his signature.

“Together with Hans van der Zee we saw him for the first time in the Brazilian youth and we were both enchanted by him. That was a few years ago, just before he went to Ajax,” de Visser said via Voetbal Primeur.

De Visser is an experienced scout (Picture: Getty Images)

“I thought he had to take an intermediate step and then Hans suggested Ajax. And then we would take him straight from Ajax.”

“We couldn’t get him, I would have wanted him. He’s a boy with poison up his butt. He crosses the line sometimes, but he’s from the favela, isn’t he?’

Antony made an immediate impression for United when he scored in a win against Arsenal on his Premier League debut and although Ten Hag was happy with the winger he encouraged him to keep working hard and improving.

“You see all his potential,” said Ten Hag of Antony. “He will be a threat in the Premier League. We were missing a player on the right wing. [Jadon] Sancho and [Marcus] Rashford can play there but they prefer the left, so now we have the missing link who can play well on the right.

“We needed that on the right wing with his pace, his dribbling and his expression. It (the Premier League) will be a challenge for him but we saw his potential. We have to keep pushing. I set high standards every day. Everyone has to bring it to Carrington every day.”

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