The BBC are running with at story which suggests that West Ham forward Michail Antonio has not ruled out leaving the club during the January transfer window.
His comments have been taken from the much quoted Footballer’s Football Podcast, where he declared: “Honestly, I’ve not ruled anything out. That’s all I can say. Nothing has been ruled out. There are talks, so whatever happens, happens.”
Quite what that means is anyone’s guess but it does seem to indicate there have either been talks held with West Ham, or alternatively with an agent or club chasing him. Antonio has been linked with Julen Lopetegui’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, as well as a move to London rivals Chelsea. The BBC article also goes on to suggest that The Hammers are open to selling Antonio, but personally I find this incredibly difficult to believe.
West Ham are in the midst of an injury crisis. New signing Danny Ings picked up a knock following his debut against Everton, and summer signing Gianluca Scamacca is also unavailable with no concrete return date. Back-up forward and auxiliary attacker Maxwell Cornet is more elusive than The Scarlet Pimpernel, so it’s inconceivable that the West Ham board would sanction the sale of our only fit forward at this time.
I don’t doubt Antonio’s words spoken on the podcast but this does seem an unlikely transfer given the Hammers perilous situation. Antonio announced on the podcast.
“I’ve been here for eight-and-a-half years now, become top goal-scorer for the club and I’ve loved every moment of it,” said Antonio.
“Every single moment is somewhere close to my heart and I’ll always be looking out for it. I love the fans, I’ve loved my time at West Ham.
“It’s just one of those things. I’m not saying goodbye, I’m saying basically, if it happens, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“I won’t be upset about staying and I’ll definitely be upset if I leave because obviously I’ve enjoyed my time here, but football is football.
“Players move, players stay and eight-and-a-half years at one club, I would never have thought of it because before I came to West Ham the most I stayed at a club was two years.
“I’ve still got a year-and-a-half here. I can’t say I’m going because I’ve still got a year-and-a-half left at the club.”
If the deal is right I would consider selling him in this window. I admire Antonio for what he has done for us, and also how he has spoken out about the management of the team currently, I wish more players would speak honestly openly about this as there needs to be a change in manager. We have Scamacca, Ings, Divan (its time to promote this guy and a few other of the u18s), and Benrahma could play there if Moyes woke up and did things right. If you moved Benrahma more centrally you could then play Benrahma on the top of a diamond with Rice, Fornals and Paqueta as your 3 in the middle in a proper 5-3-2 with Scammaca and Ings playing together but that would mean dropping Bowen (1 good game in 10 is all we can expect of him) and Soucek (form gone off the radar), will Moyes do this absolutely no, why he is too stubborn and refuses to accept what he is doing is wrong. I am expecting only poor performances in the upcoming league games and 0 points, why do the board not sack him is simply staggering.
Antonio has been a great servant for West Ham and made his name wreaking havoc on the right wing. For a brief spell we all enjoyed his glorious transformation into a centre forward as he regularly banged in the goals and had defenders running scared. He now seems a shadow of his former self, as instead of being the focal point of an exciting, counter attacking side, he has become an isolated target man who looks like age and being overused have caught up with him. I don’t think he’s done though. There have been glimpses of the old Antonio – his marauding run down the right and cross for Bowen’s goal against Everton and a similar assist for Scamacca before the WC. Both from the right wing. Moyes needs to get him going again by converting him back to a right winger where he is truly at home. Play Bowen as a 10 where he is most dangerous, or even Benni, with fluid switching with Bowen down the left. This would ensure quick crosses keep coming in from both wings for either Scamacca or Ings. Bowen and Benni would be happy with freedom to roam, Antonio would feel happy and loved again. Ings or Scamacca could have a straight fight to be the #9. Everyone’s a winner!