Mohammed Kudus’ stunning West Ham form piles further pressure on Man United’s £86million man Antony
Erik ten Hag’s move to sign Antony in 2022 looked like a sure-fire recipe for success.
But 18 months on and it’s Antony’s former Ajax teammate Mohammed Kudus who has got people talking for all the right reasons.
Antony followed Ten Hag after he joined from Ajax for a huge sum of £86million in the hope of becoming a Red Devils legend.
That looks a long way off towards coming to fruition, with on and off-field issues stopping Antony from showing his perceived ability.
Antony’s first season with Man United saw him score just eight times in 44 games, while this season he’s so far failed to score or assist in 20 appearances.
The Brazilian’s teammate at Ajax, Kudus, had to wait 12 months for his chance to impress in the Premier League, something that he’s certainly done at West Ham.
The £38million signing has already outscored Antony’s Man United tally with his new club, netting nine times in 23 games for David Moyes’ side – not to mention the four he’d already racked up for Ajax before moving to east London.
Ten Hag was asked about Antony’s form in November and insisted that while improvements were needed, his focus was more on the Man United team.
He explained: “That is also team, first, and the team is not playing well when we don’t bring him the balls and I am also responsible for that.
“But obviously, there was also a lot of noise and that dropped his levels. He can do better but all the players can do better.
“Antony is also a fighter, he has the confidence, he is brave and I am confident he will bring the performance that he is the right player for us.”
Meanwhile, David Moyes couldn’t hide his delight at Kudus’s early displays, saying: “Mo has started great for us. He’s had an impact with his goals and assists, and I think his all-round play has been good.
“It will also improve as he gets more used to the Premier League and the intensity of the games. I’ve been hugely impressed with how well he’s done.
“He’s probably started better than I would have anticipated. We eased him in during the first couple of games but since then we’ve found that he was scoring or making goals for us. Now he’s starting and doing much of the same, and we hope that continues.”
The performances of Kudus have been so good that his displays have been compared to Antony with Man United legend Peter Schmeichel stating his belief that Ten Hag’s decision to sign Antony over him was an error.
He said: “There’s really something about him, you know – right side, left side and coming down the middle.
“Half the price of Antony, I still don’t get that. If you know your players so well, why are you picking Antony over him?”
Those sentiments were echoed by talkSPORT’s chief football correspondent, Alex Crook, who said: “It’s not always easy to make the step up from the Dutch league, just ask Antony!
“I do wonder if Man United mis-spelt Kudus’s name when they submitted the official bid for Antony because it looks like they signed the wrong winger from Ajax.
“It’s a valid point because he [Kudus] has been terrific when others from the Eredivisie have floundered in the Premier League.”
The Premier League season is only at the midway point and that means there’s plenty of time for Antony and Man United to up their displays in the coming months.
But with Kudus firing on all cylinders in east London, the jury is still out regarding whether Ten Hag actually brought the wrong winger over from the Netherlands.