Man Utd star Antony’s agent responds to ‘swap deal’ links

Antony available for Manchester United again as police inquiries continue

Manchester United winger Antony will not be returning to Brazil, according to his agent, despite being linked with a move to Flamengo as part of a swap deal to take Gabriel Barbosa to Old Trafford. Antony has been in dismal form and hasn’t contributed a single goal or assist in his 11 appearances this season.

United shelled out an initial £81.3million to prise Antony away from Ajax just weeks after Erik ten Hag had left the Johan Cruyff Arena to take over at Old Trafford. The Brazil international bagged 10 goals and five assists during his maiden campaign in England but was in and out of the team under his Dutch mentor.

After September’s international break this year, the 23-year-old had his return to Old Trafford “delayed” following domestic abuse allegations, which the player denies. And since returning to action, he has started just two of his side’s four Premier League matches.

The player came under fire after lashing out at Manchester City ace Jeremy Doku in the closing stages of the Manchester derby last month. He was once again criticised for his performance against Fulham at the weekend. And there is talk his current employers could allow him to leave the club.

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According to The Mirror, United have shortlisted Flamengo star Barbosa as a top target and want to sign him as soon as possible. A fee in the region of £20m is likely to be enough for United to sign the 27-year-old striker as he is out of contract at the end of next year. And the report says the 13-time Premier League champions are willing to offer Antony to Flamengo on loan until the end of the campaign in order to get the deal over the line.

However, respected journalist Jorge Nicola has spoken to Antony’s entourage and has been told a move back to South America is not on the cards and should be ruled out.

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The journalist also insists that Ten Hag trusts the player and says United hope he recovers his good football. And if the Red Devils do eventually grow tired of the attacker’s performances, they would prefer to loan him to a club in Europe rather than one in Brazil.

Antony was handed a starting place for United on Saturday as his team went head-to-head with the Cottagers in west London. But he was hauled off just over an hour into the showdown as Uruguay winger Facundo Pellistri came on to replace him. And Pellistri had a say in settling the contest as he teed-up Bruno Fernandes for the winner in stoppage time at the end of the match.

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