iet de Visser, who worked as a scout at Chelsea during the Roman Abramovich era, has revealed he was interested in bringing Manchester United forward Antony to Stamford Bridge.
The 22-year-old began his career with Sao Paulo in his native Brazil before moving to Ajax in 2020, where he spent two years and earned this summer’s major money move to Old Trafford.
A fixture in Brazil’s international youth teams, de Visser claims Chelsea scouted the winger during his early career in South America but could not get a deal over the line.
Antony excelled at Ajax, winning two Eredivisie titles and a KNVB Cup during his time in the Dutch capital, convincing United to pay what is believed to be close to £100m for his services.
On his Premier League debut, the Brazilian international scored against Arsenal and looks set for a key role in Erik ten Hag’s rebuild, having thrived under his stewardship in the Netherlands.
Speaking to Voetbal Nieuws podcast ‘The King of Manchester’, de Visser said: “Together with Hans van der Zee [former Ajax head scout] we saw him for the first time at Brazil’s youth ranks and we were both charmed by him. That was a few years ago, just before he went to Ajax.
“I thought he had to make an intermediate step and then Hans suggested Ajax. And then we would take him right from Ajax.”
“We couldn’t get him, I would have wanted him. He’s a boy with poison in his backside. He sometimes crosses the line, but he comes from the favela, doesn’t he?”
While under new ownership this summer, Chelsea are attempting to strengthen their youth ranks. Academy chief Neil Bath is being backed by the Todd Boehly-Clearlake ownership as the club aim to develop a world-leading youth team to grow into first-team options over the next few years.
Cesare Casadei, Carney Chukwuemeka and Omari Hutchinson were among a number of names to arrive as part of a strategy billed as ‘Vision 20230’.