Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar admits Antony’s departure to Manchester United was ‘a hard one to take’ as he stresses that the winger should have stayed in Amsterdam for another year
- Edwin van der Sar has admitted Antony’s departure was difficult to take
- Ajax tried to prevent the move but Antony eventually left for £86million
- Van der Sar feels Antony and Lisandro Martinez should have stayed another year
Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar has admitted that Antony’s move to Manchester United was difficult to take.
The Dutch club were determined to keep hold of the winger, who went on strike in an attempt to force through a move.
Eventually Antony ended up moving to Old Trafford after an offer of £86million was made.
Edwin van der Sar has admitted Antony’s move to Manchester United was difficult to take
Ajax also lost defender Lisandro Martinez to United and van der Sar feels that both players should have stayed for another year.
As reported by The Times, Van der Sar, who played for United between 2005 and 2011, said: ‘It was our opinion they should stay for another year. We gave a firm ‘no’ to Arsenal when they came first for Lisandro; we fought hard to keep him.
‘It was [an] economic [decision] but it was a hard one to take. We knew there was interest but not at that level and it was too late to find a good replacement.
‘I don’t think the way [Antony] handled it was the correct one, but it’s important all the players who leave Ajax have success because it reflects well on us.’
Van der Sar feels that both Antony and Lisandro Martinez should have stayed for another year
Martinez and Antony have quickly established themselves as regulars in the United team
Since joining United Antony has scored five goals in 13 appearances and has adapted quickly to English football.
Martinez has also featured prominently for Erik ten Hag’s side, playing 15 times.
Even without Antony and Martinez, Ajax are still top of the Eredivisie table, but the Dutch club would certainly have wanted to hold on to both players for longer.
After joining from Sao Paolo in 2020, Antony scored 25 goals in 82 games for Ajax, and won the Eredivisie title twice.
Antony spent two years at Ajax, during which he made 82 appearances and scored 25 goals
Van der Sar also praised the work that former Ajax boss ten Hag is doing at United.
Van der Sar said: ‘We saw the work Erik has done when he established himself as a young coach. He’s relentless, he wants to achieve as much as possible. The training exercises, the way he wants to play, it is coming into a picture.’
In addition, van der Sar, who recently signed a new contract with Ajax until 2025, played down suggestions that he could return to United.
He said: ‘It’s never been that close. I have a good relationship with the board and I had a fantastic six years in Manchester, but I’m not finished here yet.’
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