Kerry Hamstra has not hidden his rage after former Ajax winger Antony completed an £85.6m move to Manchester United. Hamstra has taken a dig at Manchester United for the move, which he termed ‘bad and untimely.’
The much belated Manchester United Antony deal has been reshot into the limelight by Ajax’s technical director, Kerry Hamstra. The football architect had brought to bear the strong stand he took against the deal before it was forcefully completed.
Antony joined Manchester United in a widely publicized, incredible, and dramatic scenario ever recorded in the transfer market.
The Antony Man United deal was championed by Manchester United’s new manager Erik Ten Hag. Ten Hag was keen on adding the 22-year-old Brazil international to his attacking lineup, as he praises the quality he brings to bear on the pitch. Antony was similarly eager to reunite with his former Manager in the Premier League. He wanted the switch to the Manchester club to go through by all means.
However, Ajax remained resolute in rejecting Manchester United’s two bids for the player. Then, the Eredivisie giants had already lost the likes of Andre Onana, Noussair Mazraoui, Nico Tagliafico, Ryan Gravenberch, and Sebastian Haller in the summer of 2022. Adding key forward Antony to the list was a decision the club was not willing to make.
To ensure that he grabbed the move to United, Antony opted out of training to revolt against his club’s stance on the deal. He made it clear that he wanted to join Manchester United. His representatives even traveled to England to broker a deal with Manchester United when Ajax had not agreed on the move.
Manchester United submitted a third overbloated offer of €100m to Ajax for Antony, which finally turned the table in their favor. Ajax eventually reached an agreement with Manchester United after pressure from both Antony, the protagonist, and Manchester United.
The deal was completed on deadline day, but Ajax felt that they were compelled and under pressure to seal the deal. Recall that Antony went on strike and fumed when Ajax rejected Manchester United’s second bid. He later joined the Old Trafford club as a second Ajax player in the squad after Man United also completed a £56.7m signing of Argentine center-back Lisandro Martinez.
With a new coach Alfred Schreuder coming in to replace Erik Ten Hag at Ajax and a squad stripped bare by departures, Ajax’s technical director Kerry Hamstra had criticized Manchester United for preying on the 22-year-old.
Hamstra flared on the timing of the Antony deal as it gave the club and the new manager little or no chance to plan and restructure the team.
“Manchester United’s timing of the Antony deal was so bad”, he said. “The last few days of the transfer window were more hectic after Ajax had already gone through a major rebuild following the departure of lots of highly-rated players.”
Hamstra asserted that it was so difficult for the new manager to be left with such a void, given the many players lost already.
“It was so difficult to leave our new manager with such a void”, he added. “We all think we lost too many first-team players who always start.”
Hamstra, however, conceded thet there were a few snags and that they didn’t envisage that their players would be priced at such extraordinary amounts.
Meanwhile, Antony’s decision to leave sparked an explosive row with Ajax’s new manager Alfred Schreuder, who later admitted it was a shame that the move finally happened.
“I thought: you’re just a f***** player”, he was quoted as saying. “You have to train and play as every player should while under contract. I told him he would not be leaving. I thought it was weird behaviour.
“It’s a shame it happened. Personally, I just think it’s bad. I’m angry about it, too. This sort of thing, so late in the window, frustrates you as a manager.”
Antony finally joined Manchester United on a five-year contract and had scored on his debut for the Red Devils against Arsenal. Ajax, on the other hand, have won all their matches and are top of the Eredivisie despite losing some of their first-team players.