Incoming Manchester United winger Antony is set to renew his bitter feud with Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez in the Premier League as the Brazilian nears his £85million transfer to Old Trafford. The South American pair were embroiled in a fiery flashpoint when Ajax met Benfica in the Champions League last season.
After a lengthy pursuit of the samba star, United finally appear set to land their man just days before the transfer window shuts. After weeks of tense negotiations with Ajax, the Red Devils are on the verge of completing an £85m deal for Antony, who was spotted at United’s plush Carrington training complex on Monday evening ahead of his medical.
The 22-year-old has made no secret of his desire to head to Old Trafford having publicly slammed Ajax for preventing him from joining United, and refused to train with or play for the reigning Eredivisie champions. The winger has been no stranger to controversy over recent seasons and has developed a reputation as something of a hot-head – a view which was backed up when Ajax played Benfica in last season’s Champions League.
In the dying minutes of the pair’s 2-2 draw in the first-leg of their Round of 16 clash last campaign, Antony was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after going head-to-head with Liverpool summer signing Nunez. After the pair tussled on the byline, things then got heated.
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Following some pushing and shoving, the South American pair squared up to one other, making contact with their foreheads. Antony then appeared to head-butt Nunez, sending the Uruguayan plummeting to the turf while clutching his head.
Remarkably, United’s incoming new signing was only shown a caution for the act of violent conduct. Evidently relieved to have escaped further punishment, the Ajax attacker attempted to make amends, engaging in an amicable discussion with Nunez while offering an apologetic hand.
Stunned that Antony had only received a yellow card for his aggressive actions towards Nunez, BT Sport commentator Ian Darke remarked: “My goodness me. He is a lucky boy. I venture to suggest that in the Premier League that would have been pretty much an open and shut case.”
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And it is within the Premier League where the pair are likely to next meet. Nunez, who himself is currently serving a three-match ban having received a straight red card for inexplicably head-butting Crystal Palace’s Joachim Andersen in similar circumstances recently, arrived at Anfield in a potentially club-record £85m deal earlier in the summer, and now it appears he is set to be followed to England by Antony, who is heading to Old Trafford for a similar fee.
As if United and Liverpool’s bitter rival couldn’t be any more fiery, Nunez and Antony have now been thrown into the mix. Expect fireworks when the two age-old foes lock horns once more at Anfield in March.