Chelsea have reportedly joined Barcelona and Real Madrid in the race for the signing of Brazilian forward Antony from Dutch giants AFC Ajax.
According to a report from Catalan publication El Nacional, La Liga bigwigs Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to face competition from reigning European champions Chelsea in pursuit of Brazilian sensation Antony from Ajax.
Antony came through the youth ranks at Brazilian club Sao Paulo FC and made his name with the first-team before Ajax swooped in to sign him in the summer last year. Dubbed as the ‘new Neymar’ back in his homeland, the 21-year-old hit the ground running in Europe, producing a tally of ten goals and assists each in 46 appearances in his debut season.
The Brazilian has already directly contributed to three goals (1G, 2A) in five matches in the new season. Antony’s rise to prominence with Ajax and the immense potential that he has shown early in his career has now put almost every big club across Europe on alert. Earlier this month, reports of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s interest had started doing the rounds, with Chelsea also now joining them in the hunt.
Real Madrid have made it a habit of securing top young talent from South America in recent years, having brought in the likes of Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Reinier Jesus in recent times. And, it seems like Antony is another player that Los Blancos have their sights set on, which makes sense for the team.
Vinicius Junior nailing down the left-wing for himself on the back of stunning displays this term. This has forced Carlo Ancelotti to use Eden Hazard on the right, where he is hardly effective. While Gareth Bale has been reintegrated into the squad, his injury issues have also surfaced again. With Lucas Vazquez not entirely a regular starter, reinforcements on the right flank, in the form of Antony, would be welcome.
As for Barcelona, it has become very evident that they need to add more threat and cutting edge in their attack that has appeared toothless and bereft of ideas of late. While the returns of Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati from injury in the coming weeks should alleviate some problems, the former remains in the final year of his deal and is back on the radars of Manchester United.
With Yusuf Demir still not experienced enough to face the pressure of taking the field week in week out for a team like Barcelona, adding another player like Antony, who will have played two years of senior football in Europe by summer next year, would be a shrewd move. However, both Barcelona and Real Madrid will have to contend with competition from Chelsea.
The Blues have a well-stocked attacking unit with manager Thomas Tuchel having the likes of Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi vying for the two wide attacking midfield slots in the lineup.
However, the latter’s future continues to be uncertain due to a lack of game-time while Pulisic’s injury concerns could warrant the addition of another wide forward, making Antony a viable target. In addition to Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are also keen on the Ajax sensation. It remains to be seen who among these heavyweights make the first move for his signing.