New Manchester United signing Antony has revealed he lost sleep over whether the move would happen or not as the 22-year-old went on strike at Ajax.
The forward missed two Eredivisie games and trained on his own in an attempt to force through a move to Erik ten Hag’s side, and even went public to express his desires to move to England.
Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder told Antony he would be fined, but a move was eventually completed, something the Brazil international, via Manchester United’s club website, branded a ‘dream’.
‘I went through a lot of difficult moments in my life,’ he said. ‘I know that this will be another challenge. I went through a lot in the past – no football boots, nothing to eat, three or four in the morning bailing water out of my house as it had flooded.
‘They were very difficult times but I went through it all with a smile. Those moments have contributed to everything I’m now experiencing.
‘My mum was calling me every day, my dad was messaging me, my sister as well: “What’s happening? Has it worked out? Anything wrong?” They seemed more anxious than I was. When I told them the news they cried a lot.
‘I’ve been dreaming about this, I’ve been losing sleep thinking about it. My head and heart were here. Erik [ten Hag] knows, everyone at Manchester United knows about my desire to be here and wear the United shirt.’
Antony played under new Manchester United boss ten Hag during their time together at Ajax, and praised the Dutchman upon his arrival at Old Trafford after the £85.5million deal was finally completed.
‘He’s a manager I have respect and admiration for,’ he said. ‘I hope to make history and develop and grow further under his management.
‘What stands out about him for me is his intelligence, his tactical knowledge, game strategy, attacking play and pressing game that I know very well after working with him for two years.
‘We developed this mutual trust and closeness [at Ajax].’
Schreuder, meanwhile, grew more unimpressed with Antony’s conduct as the transfer saga wore on.
‘If you’re Ajax, it’s just bad that this happens,’ he told Rondo of Antony’s conduct. ‘I’ve talked about it with him. If you’re disappointed for a day or two, I understand, but at some point you’re a professional.
‘Then I said: “I will continue with the guys who are there”. At a certain point you get angry about it, like… what are we doing? Looking at the total picture, that frustrates you as a trainer, but also how you stand in the world.’
Antony could make his Premier League debut against table-toppers Arsenal this Sunday.