Chelsea scout Piet de Visser has revealed that the club tried to sign Antony from Sao Paulo before the Brazilian moved to Ajax in the summer of 2020.
Antony made the switch to the Eredivisie giants for £14.2m and is now at Manchester United after they landed the 22-year-old for £85m this summer.
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But he could have been at Stamford Bridge according to De Visser, who has been a Chelsea scout ever since Romano Abramovich took charge of the club and is said to be responsible for Arjen Robben’s arrival in the Premier League, among others.
The Dutchman is also credited with bringing top South American stars to Europe, with Ronaldo’s move to PSV Eindhoven from Cruzeiro in 1994 chief among them.
He claims he was interested in taking Anthony to Chelsea while watching him play for the Brazilian youth teams, but says “we couldn’t get him”.
“Together with Hans van der Zee [former Ajax head scout] we saw him for the first time at Brazil’s youth ranks and we were both charmed by him. That was a few years ago, just before he went to Ajax,” De Visser told Voetbal Primeur.
“I thought he had to make an intermediate step and then Hans suggested Ajax. And then we would take him right from Ajax.”
“We couldn’t get him, I would have wanted him. He’s a boy with poison in his backside. He sometimes crosses the line, but he comes from the favela, doesn’t he?”
Antony was one of six United signings this summer, with Christian Eriksen, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Martin Dubravka and Casemiro also arriving at Old Trafford.
And Fabrizio Romano has now revealed that the club was “offered more than 15 players” in just one “crazy week” during the summer transfer window.
“Between the 15th and 21st of August was a crazy week for Manchester United. It was a difficult moment for them – Antony was not available and they had some issues in many negotiations,” Romano said.
“So, they submitted offers for Adrien Rabiot and Marko Arnautovic – the two deals were absolutely on.
“But during the following week the Rabiot deal fell through due to salary demands, and the Arnautovic deal collapsed because the fans went absolutely crazy about that story.
“What happened next? Honestly, more than 15 players were offered to Man United that week. Memphis Depay on a free transfer was one, Leandro Paredes was discussed, Weston McKennie was offered as well.
“While the Antony deal was still in doubt, Yannick Carrasco was offered, and Christian Pulisic was discussed. At right-back, Sergino Dest and Thomas Meunier were also options.
“Still, there was no panic from United, they decided to wait and only go for top players. In the end, they got Casemiro and Antony – their patience paid off.
“They were calm in a difficult moment and for now it looks like it was the right approach.”