The need for a new striker at the club has been a big talking point over the summer at West Ham, but it is still only Michail Antonio on the books who looks to be carrying the burden of being the Hammers’ main source of goals as they head into the new season.
And whilst the hunt for a new striker to accompany Antonio within the squad continues, the 31-year-old frontman bears the sole responsibility to lead the line as West Ham embark on a potentially historic season, with European football chaperoning another hard-fought Premier League campaign after a remarkable 6th place finish last time out.
‘Iron Mike’ is coming off the back of consecutive double-digit scoring seasons for the first time in his career and is certainly showing his worth as he has finally found a consistent position under David Moyes, having been moved about all over the park – all the way to right-back – during the majority of his Hammers spell.
Being West Ham’s only senior striker on their books, can injury-prone Antonio shake off his troubles and carry the club to success?
He is up there with the most frightening of Premier League forwards on his day, as his unique combination of pace and power often proves too much for many a defender throughout the league. This skill set, along with his newfound knack for hitting the back of the net, means that West Ham fans wish that he could play every game for the club to stand the best chance of winning.
But therein lies the problem when it comes to Antonio. When he looks to be in the finest form, his hamstring will suddenly pop, and he will then be out for the next six weeks, leaving Moyes stranded with no other options to call upon. This generally happens two or three times a season and, as the striker gets older, it is only likely to worsen with father time looking over his shoulder.
This is why David Sullivan and David Gold must back Moyes in his quest for a new striker before the transfer window closes, having already sold his only other frontman – Sebastien Haller – in the January window.
Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham has been linked to West Ham’s move, which would certainly be a signing of intent for the Hammers, with the 23-year-old goalscorer not being in favor at the club since Thomas Tuchel took over the reins at Stamford Bridge.
If West Ham were to go into the season with the combination of Antonio and Abraham as strikers, Moyes would likely be content with his options hoping that the pair could stay fit enough to compete in four different competitions throughout a long and potentially draining season.
As for Antonio himself, he evidently still has a lot to provide for this Irons side when he does indeed play and will have his eyes firmly set on some personal glory, with him being just one short of matching Paolo Di Canio’s long-standing record Premier League goal tally for West Ham, which stands at 47. He will back himself to take over that number within the early weeks of the season and stand alone as the Hammers’ greatest Premier League goalscorer.