Ajax snap up €22m Brazil starlet Antony to replace Chelsea-bound Ziyech

With the Morocco international set to switch Amsterdam for London, the Dutch champions have moved to secure an adequate replacement

Ajax have announced the signing of Antony Matheus dos Santos, better known as Antony, with the Sao Paulo starlet set to replace Chelsea-bound Hakim Ziyech on the wing when the Moroccan joins up with the Stamford Bridge side on July 1.

A Brazil Under-23 international, despite being only 19 years of age, Antony put pen to paper on a five-season deal that will see the attacker linked to the Amsterdam club until June 30, 2025.

An initial transfer fee of €15.75 million (£13m$17m) will be paid to Sao Paulo, with that amount potentially rising to €21.75m (£18m/$24m) depending on various sporting criteria.

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Ajax are reported to have beaten Borussia Dortmund, among others, to the youngster’s signature.

Director of football affairs Marc Overmars was suitably excited in getting a deal over the line, telling the club’s official website: “We will have to be patient for a few more months before Antony can start here, but with him we are getting a creative player who can play in every position up front.

“It has already been well established that some of our players will be leaving this summer and we needed to plan for that, so it’s great that we’ve been able to finalise this transfer.”

Having come through the youth ranks at his boyhood club, Antony boasts a striking record of five goals in nine games for the U23 Brazil side and will be expected to fill the gap left by €40m (£33m/$43m) Ziyech, who is set to link up with his new team-mates in London during the summer.

Speaking on his team-mate’s imminent exit, Donny van de Beek believes Ziyech is leaving the club at the right time, and that Chelsea is the right place for the 26-year-old to continue his impressive development.

“He is a fantastic football player, so I am confident that he will do well,” Van de Beek told Voetbal Primeur. 

“I think it’s a very nice club with a lot of young players that can grow. I think Hakim will certainly be in the right place. Everyone, of course, has their opinion about that, but I think it’s a nice club for him.”

Van de Beek himself has been linked with a move abroad in the summer window, with Real Madrid mooted as a potential destination, while goalkeeper Andre Onana is also said to have a sizeable list of potential suitors.

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