Jaap Stam ‘surprised’ by hefty Man Utd fee for forward who’s ‘not good enough for this level’

Ciaran McCarthy
Antony, Manchester United, November 2023
Antony emotional after Manchester United loss

Jaap Stam has detailed his belief that Antony is “not good enough” for the level Manchester United are looking for, and he’s “surprised” by the fee the Red Devils paid for him.

Erik ten Hag has splashed big sums on a number of players since walking through the door at Old Trafford. The likes of Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund commanded large fees.

However, the signing of one of the manager’s favourite players from his time at Ajax, Antony, saw United drop the biggest sum.

The £82million paid to bring him to Old Trafford is the second-highest outlay in the club’s history, and it led to him scoring just eight goals in his first season, and fail to score or assist so far this term.

As a result of his meagre output, United legend Stam feels he’s not going to improve to the level that his club need him to be at.

“From what I’ve seen from Antony, he’s not good enough for this level that we’re looking for at United,” he said on Stick to Football.

“Because you’re also looking for a player who can have a difficult time and struggle when he comes in, but [we can see] where he is making progress to get to that level.

“When you’re looking at Antony now, at this moment, you don’t see where he can make the progress to make the next step in the Premier League to be up there with the top wingers who can make a difference.”

What’s more, Stam has suggested United were fighting a losing battle with him from the off, as he wasn’t that good a player at Ajax, and Ten Hag gambled on him coming good as he felt he worked well in his system, and that came with a fee that was too big.

“In Holland, he did okay but it wasn’t like he was the best player in Holland. He did okay for Ajax but then again, they’re playing in a league with a couple of good players, and the rest of the league – with all respect – are mediocre players,” Stam added.

“They’re [Ajax] always dominating so he could always do his trickery, put the crosses in and play a one-two.

“But at this level – and that’s down to recruitment together with the management – they need to make the right choices to bring the players in who can really make a difference in the Premier League. I was surprised by Antony’s fee.”

Stam went a step further than questioning just Antony, and suggested the entire United squad is filled with players that aren’t good enough.

“The whole package needs to be there if you want to perform and get to a certain level. Looking at the players at United now, it’s hard to find within the whole squad players that you think are going to make it to the highest level,” Stam said.

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