The new Neymar? Manchester United targets Anthony as he dreams of qualifying for the World Cup after the brilliance of Ajax season

The 22-year-old could follow Erik ten Hag to Old Trafford this summer after enjoying an impressive campaign in the Netherlands.

As Brazil continued its relentless march towards the 2022 World Cup last October, two players in particular stood out for the South American giants.

Leeds United’s Ravenha had an immediate impact on the Selecao, scoring two goals in three matches and adding two extra assists to establish himself as a true contender for a seat on the flight to Qatar. But the winger wasn’t the only newcomer who left fans demanding more.

If anything, Ajax’s gem Anthony’s rise was more a meteor than that of his compatriot. The 22-year-old built a fantastic start in 2021-22 to enjoy a fantastic year for club and country, a year that caught the attention of Premier League giants Manchester United – and it seems there is no limit to what his talents can reach. Reach.

Anthony was already a regular first-team player as a teenager with his hometown club Sao Paulo. Born in the difficult suburb of Paulista in Osasco, told guardian His mother “borrowed” her first pair of shoes from the shoe store she was working in at the time.

He played alongside former Barcelona star Dani Alves when Ajax swooped in the day before his 20th birthday in February 2020 to complete an initial €15.5m (£13m/$18m) transfer deal.

His first season in Amsterdam proved to be a stunning success, with 10 goals in 46 appearances in all competitions, as the club completed the League and Cup double – all of which put him firmly in the sights of Brazil’s national team.

A place in the country’s Olympic squad followed, and the youngster was a constant presence as Selecao beat Spain to retain the gold medal won by Neymar and Partners in Rio de Janeiro five years ago, setting Malcolm’s crucial goal in overtime. In the end.

Not content with simply hanging the medal around his neck, the winger has since tattooed his body, although he quickly made clear his next ambitious goals: “Performance in the Champions League. I had the opportunity to play on that stage in my first season, and in this Very high level I hope to show more and more of myself.

“The World Cup is also on my list of priorities. It would be a dream to play for Brazil in Qatar. I will work hard for that.”

He certainly didn’t hurt his chances with an exciting introduction to top international football. Anthony entered as a substitute in all three of the Brazilian qualifiers for the month of October, making a positive impact in each of them with his explosive running and constant menace around the penalty area, scoring well in his first game against Venezuela.

The young man played nine international matches since that auspicious start, scoring two goals, while ending his best season so far with Ajax with 12 goals and 10 assists in 33 matches, as Eric Ten Hag’s team retained the Eredivisie title.

Unsurprisingly, with Tin Hag now at Old Trafford, United have added their name to the already keen interest in the young striker.

Liverpool, Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Barcelona have all been linked with Anthony, whose speed and impressive dribbling skills have made him the unavoidable label “the new Neymar” by some observers.

Now, with the summer transfer window in full swing, the winger faces a tough choice.

There is fierce competition for Tite’s team, especially in those broad offensive positions. Anthony must compete with Neymar, Richarlison, Ravenha, Lucas Paqueta, Everton Ribeiro and Vinicius Jr to name only the top candidates, while there is still plenty of time for the other contenders to make their arguments for the selection.

Thus, the young man may soon face a dilemma. Should he continue to shine for Ajax for one week, another week, offering his best team to manage Brazil, albeit at a level a little lower than the big five leagues in Europe?

Anthony Brasil GFXGetty Images

Or should he bet on advancing to the elite this summer, risking the possibility of having his playing time reduced as he adjusts to a new club which could ultimately harm his chances of standing out among so many good players?

This will be a question that only he and his team of advisors will be able to answer, and one hopes he will make the right decision as the World Cup approaches.

But even if he doesn’t succeed, with his incredible talent and leadership for Anthony, he should have plenty of chances to shine for Brazil and the biggest clubs in the world in the coming years.

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