West Ham striker Michail Antonio is attracting interest from Wolves.
The Hammers star has been in and out the starting XI this season following the signing of Gianluca Scamacca.
Antonio is supposedly not content with being restricted to appearances off the bench and in cup matches, so therefore Wolves have spotted a chance to buy him. Although West Ham can not afford to sell him mid-season.
West Ham must not let Michail Antonio depart in the January transfer window.
There are main reasons why David Moyes would be mad to let the 32-year-old go. Firstly, the club can not strengthen a relegation rival. Both West Ham and Wolves are down the bottom of the table, after much better campaigns last term. The Irons are directly competing with Julen Lopetegui’s side to stay in the Premier League. The last thing they should be doing is assisting them with their main issue – goals.
Wolves have found the back of the net just 11 times this season, the lowest in the league. Raul Jimenez isn’t firing, summer signing Sasa Kalajdzic remains out injured, Diego Costa is far too old and Matheus Cunha could take time to settle in. Antonio isn’t exactly a goal machine, however it’s his work rate and ability outside the box which is fantastic. He’s an excellent asset to have, who has been exceptional for West Ham over the years. This season he hasn’t been at his best and has understandably been criticised but he is far from ‘deadwood’.
Also, West Ham must think about themselves, not just improving a competitor. Scamacca has had an up and down time since his big money transfer but there’s potential there, much like Lucas Paqueta, whether he needs to be deployed differently is a separate matter but hopefully both can settle during the second half of the season.
But it only takes an injury to the Italian for Moyes to be reliant on Antonio again. Given West Ham’s dangerous league position, a replacement like Terem Moffi may also take time to find his feet in a new country. It’s a huge risk to rely on a striker, who is something of an unknown, to keep the club in the league. At least with Antonio we know he can do it in the Premier League.
Also, Antonio and Scamacca will get plenty of minutes each until the season is over. West Ham aim to go far in the Conference League and FA Cup, and will need rotation to achieve that. Moyes found out last season that a lack of squad depth and vitally not having enough players he trusts can cost the club.
A few extra bodies last term and that tired looking West Ham side could’ve remained fresh at the business end of the season. Potentially then winning the Europa League or achieving another top six finish. Ben Johnson recently admitted the Hammers were a few players short last season and it affected the run in. The same mistake cannot be made again.
The argument to sell Antonio is not a bad one, a younger striker wouldn’t go a miss, his contract expires in 2024, the £8million offer from Wolves is a decent one given his age and this the last chance for West Ham to sell him for a sum like that.
But, mid-season selling to a side you are competing with while trying to fight in three different competitions, all while you’ve got to stay in the league. Now is not the time for this change, in the summer, perhaps.
Antonio being unhappy due to his restricted minutes is understandable. No player doesn’t want to play. If he is causing an issue in the dressing room then that changes a lot. But he has expressed his love for the club and previously said he would happily retire at West Ham. Any claims he is causing a disruption seem wide of the mark.