Many Manchester United supporters were expecting Anthony to be the ‘Premier League’s Neymar’ when they paid £86 million to sign the Brazilian from Dutch side AFC Ajax in August 2022.
It seemed Anthony was going to live up to expectations as he scored a fantastic goal on his debut for the Red Devils in a 3-2 win over Arsenal and went on to score in his next two games for the club.
From this point on, the Brazilian’s career at Manchester United has been very inconsistent.
It all started when Antony would sometimes perform his trademark spinning move when he received the ball from his teammate. This move had zero influence on his team’s attacking play, it was aesthetically pleasing to see and that was all there was to it.
He eventually stopped doing it when it was obvious his coach, Erik Ten Hag, and fans as well became irritated by it. It was also been used as banter material by critics of the club.
Also, many Manchester United supporters are complaining about him in the following areas:
- Over-reliance on his left foot which makes him very predictable to opponents.
- Not tracking back.
- Holding on to the ball for too long and making poor choices in the final third.
- Poor decision-making on the field.
In December 2022, Anthony was able to catch a break as he went on to represent Brazil at the World Cup in Qatar. All things considered, the 23-year-old put in a good performance for the Selecao at the tournament. His best performance was in the quarter-final match against Croatia. Brazil was by a milestone the superior side in the match but they lost on penalty shoot-outs.
After the World Cup, it was expected that the winger would discover his form once he joined up with the Red Devils but this was not the case. Antony was still as inconsistent as when he left for Qatar.
If things were bad for the Brazilian in the 2022/23 season, it got a whole lot worse in the 2023/24 season.
His problems from last season, especially concerning being predictable and poor decision-making became more manifested.
A strong indication of this is the fact that he has 0 goals and 0 assists for Manchester United so far this season despite being a regular starter. Facundo Pellestri who is mainly a substitute player and has way less game time than Antony has more goals than the Brazilian this season.
The 23-year-old was an exciting player to watch while he was at Ajax and showed so much potential. He had a very good start to his Manchester United career, plus, he was one of Brazil’s best players at the World Cup in Qatar. Why then is Antony seriously struggling to find his form?
One angle that is certainly worth looking at is his manager, Erik Ten Hag.
Since the former Ajax boss took over as coach of the Red Devils in July 2022, every single player he’s recruited thus far, except Lisandro Martinez, has not lived up to expectations. From Casemiro, Mason Mount, Sofyan Amrabat, etc all the way to Antony, none are yet to show the standards that are expected of a footballer playing for Manchester United.
During his tenure, Erik Ten Hag has also had a falling out with 5-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho which resulted in both of them eventually leaving the Theatre of Dreams. Ronaldo went to Saudi Arabia while Jadon Sancho just completed a loan move to his former club, Borussia Dortmund.
To put into proper context how much the current United coach is getting his signings wrong, Rasmus Højlund, the striker who was signed from Italian side Atalanta for £72 million has only 1 goal in the Premier League so far this season. You know things are bad when your main striker has only 1 goal in 15 premier league matches.
To be fair, all of Manchester United’s forward players are struggling for goals this season. This includes Marcus Rashford who was the stuff of nightmares for many defenses last season. So far this campaign. Mohamed Salah of Liverpool has more goals as well as more assists than all of United’s forward players combined.
Antony is definitely a player with potential but so far it’s not being manifested. Taking into consideration how things are with Erik Ten Hag and Manchester United, maybe he needs to step away from there in order to rediscover his form.
Some months back, there were rumors that the Red Devils were open to loaning the winger to a Brazilian club. At this point, sending Antony out on loan might be the best option for both himself and Manchester United so he can find his rhythm again.
This article was updated 2 months ago