Manchester United’s summer spending spree has reached a record £231.1m following the £85.5 million move for Ajax star Antony.
Antony, who worked with Erik ten Hag in Amsterdam, has become the most expensive signing in deadline-day history after the club confirmed the deal.
The Brazilian is primarily a right winger who loves to cut in on his left foot and will give United a new type of threat in attack.
And after completing this transfer, in addition to the £70 million capture of Casemiro, £56 million splurge on Lisandro Martinez, £14.6 million switch for Tyrell Malacia, loan of Martin Dubravka and addition of Christian Eriksen on a free transfer, United now have a wealth of options at their disposal going forward.
🤳 Straight from the heart. @Antony00 is a RED! 🔴#MUFC pic.twitter.com/wzRA7El4PD
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) September 1, 2022
It was a massive summer overhaul which saw plenty of deadwood moved on, including the likes of Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly and Andreas Pereira.
Now United look like they might actually have a tidy little team on their hands and there seems to be a renewed optimism among supporters after back-to-back wins.
“We want to compete with the best clubs and we want to win every game so you need a good squad,” Ten Hag told the club’s official website.
“A squad that also has competition in but also during the season you have injuries, suspensions and loss of form so then you need substitutes to fill in the role. You need quality and I think now we have a squad which has the quality.”
With that being said, here are three ways United could line up this season.
This could well be Ten Hag’s strongest XI. It’s the same backline he’s deployed for the past two games, with Casemiro anchoring the midfield and allowing Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes to do their thing – almost in the same way as he did with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric.
A front three of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Antony is one that has skill, pace and fluidity.
A similar system applies here, with Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire in for Martinez and Malacia – changes that could be suited for when United come up against a more physical side.
In this situation, it could also make sense to select an all Brazilian central midfield pairing of Fred and Casemiro to get stuck in and move the ball on.
Fernandes is in as a No.10, with Sancho on the right and Rashford on the left supporting Cristiano Ronaldo, who does appear to be staying despite wanting to leave all summer.
4-3-3 appears to Ten Hag’s favourite system but United could quite easily shift into a three at the back system, comprising of Varane, Maguire and Martinez – with Sancho operating as a wing-back.
Anthony Martial, who had a strong second-half showing against Liverpool, leads the line.
The likes of Scott McTominay, Victor Lindelof and Donny van de Beek could also come in as useful squad players.