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Football Reporting


Man Utd handed golden opportunity to complete transfer of perfect Antony alternative

Ajax’s Antony is thought to be one of Man Utd’s key transfer targets this summer, however there’s one Bundesliga star who could be the perfect alternative for the club to pursue instead

Antony of Ajax and Gnabry of Bayern

It was revealed this week that Manchester United have reportedly made an approach to sign Ajax winger Antony. The exciting forward has been one of the Dutch champions’ star attackers this season, scoring ten goals while registering a further nine assists across all competitions.

We know United will be in the market for at least one new forward this summer, with Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial set to leave the club. Erik ten Hag’s arrival at Old Trafford could hand them a huge advantage in the race to land Antony, though with Liverpool and Newcastle also though to be interested, competition is set to be stiff.

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It’d be wise for United to therefore draw up a list of similar alternatives, should they not land the 22-year-old. While United officials will have their own complex recruitment system to undertake such a task, we at Mirror football have utilised Fbref’s impressive player comparison tool to identify the players who compare most to Antony from a statistical point of view.

Interestingly, the most similar player to Antony according to the data specialists is exciting Bayern Munich attacker Serge Gnabry.

The 26-year-old has been the subject of speculation for many months after reports surfaced back in February suggesting he was unsure about signing a new deal with the German champions. The attacker is thought to feel not as appreciated as other players in his age group at the club and is keen to move somewhere we he will be handed a more starring role.

Bayern in response have offered him an improved take-it-or-leave-it contract, but at present it seems he’s unwilling to accept it, meaning the German international could leave this summer for a small fee or the club risk losing him for nothing in 12 months time.

United should take advantage of this situation, because there’s little doubt the former Arsenal man could have a significant impact on their attack under Ten Hag next season.

Gnabry does of course have Premier League experience, though he never really fulfilled his potential at Arsenal where he initially come through. He kickstarted his career following a switch to Werder Bremen in 2016, excelling and scoring 11 Bundesliga goals.

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His form that season caught the attention of Bayern who swooped in one year later, loaning him to Hoffenheim for a season before promoting him to a key member of their squad ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.



Bundesliga Collection via Getty)

For the Bavarians, the 26-year-old has registered a remarkable 104 goal contributions in just 171 appearances. He’s showcased himself as an extremely dangerous and versatile attacker who can play a number of different positions.

He’s able to do this thanks to his lightening speed and skill which are both aided by an ability to use both feet effectively. If playing out on the left, it’s more common to see him driving at a defence before cutting in onto his more favoured right foot and hitting shots at goal, while on the right he’ll focus more on turning provider for his teammates.

In isolation, Gnabry’s goal record is impressive, but comparing it to his xG across his time in Germany further highlights just how accurate of a finisher he is. Across his six years in the Bundesliga, Gnabry has scored 67 goals in the competition. His xG according to Wyscout in that time is just 49.26.

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This effectively means that he’s scored roughly 17 more goals than what would have been expected based on the quality of shooting opportunities he’s been presented with. His finishing capabilities could be a big reason as to why he’s eager to play in more central roles, something that’s not happened enough in his eyes at Bayern.

United could present him with this opportunity, while from their point of view, his ability to play a number of different attacking roles could prove hugly beneficial throughout next season. This is a move that’d make a lot of sense for the Red Devils.

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