Winger, father and AUTHOR and still 22… Man Utd’s £84million transfer Antony is proof you can’t judge a book by its cover

HE WRITTEN a book, became a dad and made his Brazil Under-23 debut – all at the age of 19.

So Manchester United shouldn’t worry too much about whether winger Antony – their new arrival from Ajax – is mature enough to be the third most expensive signing in the club’s history.


Manchester United close in on signing Ajax striker AntonyCredit: AFP
Brazil international Antony rose through the ranks at Sau Paulo


Brazil international Antony rose through the ranks at Sau Paulo

Still, £84million is still a lot for a player who has made a massive name for himself albeit outside one of Europe’s so-called top five leagues. It is still a risk.

Set to feature in the biggest transfer in Dutch football, Antony, 22, has nonetheless taken it all in his stride on several occasions, so perhaps the final chapter of his career will be no different.

After leaving South America for Ajax in 2020 with Manchester City and Everton falling short with offers, Antony has taken his game to a new level and now follows manager Erik ten Hag and defender Lisandro Martinez from Amsterdam in Manchester.

For Ajax, it’s still a brilliant business. Their sales soared to £193m this summer – including Martinez’s £48.3m switch to United – while their outgoings were £91m.

Antony has a child with his partner Rosilene Xavier


Antony has a child with his partner Rosilene XavierCredit: Instagram: @Antony00
The Red Devils agreed £84m to sign Antony from Ajax


The Red Devils agreed £84m to sign Antony from AjaxCredit: Instagram: @Antony00

Antony proved to be a hit in Holland even as club legend Marco van Basten broke his Sao Paulo record, which was worth £13m but could end up closer to £18m.

Van Basten, who has now probably changed his tune, said: “At Ajax they have a really big mouth.

“The education of our young people is so great. And then you are going to buy a young player for a mega amount. Something is wrong then.

“If you hit yourself so terribly in the chest that the education of young people is so good, then of course it’s ridiculous that you buy a young Brazilian player for 25 million euros.”


Born Antony Matheus Dos Santos, he joined local club Sao Paulo’s academy at the age of ten.

He helped them win the J League World Challenge in Japan and was named Most Valuable Player, leading to his first professional contract, aged 18, in 2018.

Just 12 months later, Antony became a father to son Lorenzo and made his debut for the Brazilian U-23s, playing alongside Bruno Guimaraes, now at Newcastle.

Antony then wrote From Overcoming A Real Dream, a diary about the pressures of being a rising star in Brazil.

He detailed his issues with Sao Paulo’s youth and revealed he was set to be released three times.

After his Sao Paulo debut, Tottenham’s Lucas Moura praised the youngster and told him to ‘work hard’ and keep playing games.

Antony has since developed a close friendship with Moura.

He is only 5ft 9in, plays on the right side of midfield or attack and is notorious for cutting off his left foot.

Antony has scored twice in nine appearances for the Brazilian national team


Antony has scored twice in nine appearances for the Brazilian national teamCredit: Getty
Antony won two Eredivisie titles with Ajax after joining in 2020


Antony won two Eredivisie titles with Ajax after joining in 2020Credit: Getty

Despite interest from the Premier League, Antony moved to Ajax in 2020, earning around £12,000 a week.

Upon arrival, his new Brazilian teammates released a rap in his honor.

David Neres and Danilo recorded a track called Bem-vindo Antony (Welcome Antony), written by Sarita Lorena, a Brazilian who had lived in Holland for many years.

Antony, a devout Catholic jet ski enthusiast, became a revelation at the Johan Cruyff Arena, winning two Eredivisie titles under Ten Hag.

He continued his fine form at the start of the season, scoring once and adding two assists in the first two Eredivisie games before being left out for the clash with Sparta Rotterdam.

Although still a relative newcomer to the international scene, Antony is hoping to be the star of the World Cup in Qatar.

He made his senior Brazilian debut against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier ten months ago and has now appeared nine times.

But over the past few months, Antony has fallen out with Ajax.

He said: “In February this year, my agents came to Amsterdam to inform Ajax of my desire to leave the club.

“In June, I interrupted my vacation and came personally to inform the Ajax directors, including the new coach, of my wish to leave and that they should consider this possibility.”

And on Friday he said: “During a meeting with the club, I expressed my former interest in leaving, but this time with a considerable offer on the table.

“Ajax refused, arguing that they only had five days to replace me.”

Like most things in his short career, Antony gets exactly what he wants.

Lola R. McClure