Van Basten baffled by Ten Hag decision to sign ‘confused’ Man Utd man over another target

Joe Williams
Marco van Basten and Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag talk

Netherlands legend Marco van Basten can’t understand why Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag signed Antony over “much better football player” Mohammed Kudus.

The Red Devils signed Antony from Ajax in a deal worth around £85m in the summer transfer market but the Brazilian has struggled to make a big impression.

Antony has contributed five goals and no assists in 23 appearances in all competitions since joining Man Utd with more expected of the former Sao Paulo youth graduate.

The 22-year-old’s defensive contributions have also been criticised with a number of pundits and former players pulling him up on his failure to track back during matches.

And former Netherlands international – who watches a lot of Eredivisie football – reckons Man Utd target Kudus is “much better” than former Ajax team-mate Antony.

“I find Mohammed Kudus a much better football player than Antony,” Van Basten said on Ziggo Sport.

“Antony has his skills, but he is confused with the things he is trying to do!

“Kudus has much better technique and he knows what he is doing. Antony may be faster, but Kudus is smarter and more technical. He is much more of a footballer, you can place him anywhere on the pitch, an all-rounder for the team.”

Van Basten added: “In fact, I like him much better than Antony. He’s more fun to watch play.”

Another former Dutch international Jan Mulder agreed with Van Basten, he continued: “Kudus is Ajax’s best player. What a class player.

“Why didn’t he always play under Schreuder? He often sat on the bench! You let him play three or four games in a row and you immediately see his class.”

TalkSPORT pundit Gabby Agbonlahor said at the beginning of February that the Man Utd winger was a “bluffer”.

The former Aston Villa striker said: “I think he’s a bluffer. I think when he gets the ball, he doesn’t take a player on. He doesn’t have the speed to take players on. With 11 league games he’s got three goals, no assists. Four Carabao Cup games, one goal, no assists.

“Two FA Cup games, one goal, one assist. That’s one assist in all competitions. He doesn’t do what Rashford does. Rashford gets the ball direct, takes players on, puts balls into the box.”

Along similar lines, former Tottenham striker Darren Bent said on Antony in January: “All tricks and flicks, no substance at the minute.

“He’s doing all this stuff but he’s not going past anyone. It’s not like he’s doing a trick to manipulate the ball to go past someone, he’s just doing it for the sake of it.

“A little bit like the spin, at the time I was like ‘ah come on it’s only a spin’.

“You clip all the best bits of a footballer and you look at it on YouTube and go ‘wow, I can’t believe we’re signing him!’

“But where’s the substance in between, where’s the end product? I know he started off alright at United, couple of good goals, but where’s the end product?”

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