Manchester United chiefs believed back in the summer it would potentially take a year for Antony to hit his stride. And with the Brazil international in the spotlight following his poor display against Arsenal on Sunday, the onus is on him to improve. New signings can sometimes take 12 months to settle – just like Jack Grealish across town at Manchester City.
Manchester United didn’t initially plan on signing Antony in the summer, despite the fact he was on their shortlist of potential transfer targets.
Ajax played hard-ball in negotiations but, after defeats to Brighton and Brentford, the Red Devils then decided to cough up a huge £86million for the 22-year-old.
Antony’s time in England started well enough with Premier League goals against the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Everton.
But he’s blown hot and cold in the time since and, at the current moment in time, has managed just five goal involvements from his first 19 games.
According to The Times, United chiefs thought back in the summer it would potentially take a year for Antony to settle.
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And the publication also points out how it’s taken 12 months for fierce rivals Manchester City to see the best from Grealish, too.
Grealish moved to the Etihad Stadium for a massive £100m back in the summer transfer window of 2021, making him the most expensive English player in football history.
But he toiled during his first year at the club, often struggling to live up to expectations.
Grealish is now operating at a higher level than before, though, even if that’s not always reflected in his goalscoring numbers.
And City also had to be patient when they first landed Riyad Mahrez, too, with the Algeria international arriving from Leicester in 2018.
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United think Antony’s case is similar, especially given the difference between the Premier League and Eredivisie.
And they’ll be hoping the forward can kick on and improve, despite his poor display against Arsenal last time out.
Antony has vowed to kick on at United ahead of Wednesday night’s showdown with Nottingham Forest, saying on social media: “Important week for us!! Seeking to evolve to give my best to the team!
“It has always been a dream to be here and I will give all I have to honour this club cause [sic] we are stronger together!”
And Ten Hag has admitted he feels Antony will improve over time, saying: “I think he is not losing games.
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“When he is playing and the team is winning and that already gives a message of how well he is performing.
“He can do better, I see space for improvement and, for instance – and I think you notice – we want him to be more direct, more involved.
“But the team is performing better if he is on the pitch and that is a good thing, a good base to build further on.
“I think he already makes improvement, he scored some goals, he scored in his first three games, now he scores against Everton and Charlton, so he has an impact.
“But I think with his capabilities, with his talents he can do even more. He has a good contribution in the team.”
Ten Hag also recently played down an argument between Antony and Bruno Fernandes during their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace, too.
“That can happen,” he said.
“They are both players who play also with the heart and when they bring that in the game, they are at their best.
“So it is always getting a balance, sometimes emotions slide up. In the second moment already they are good enough with each other.
“So that is not a problem and definitely the players are not frustrated with him.”