Crystal Palace Opinion: Why the Eagles should go for Michail Antonio?
Back in July 2018, the Sky Sports claimed Crystal Palace were interested in signing West Ham attacker Michail Antonio, as the Hammers were looking to sell him. However, a deal never materialised and Antonio stayed put at the London Stadium.
The 29-year-old enjoyed an impressive season with West Ham, scoring seven goals and providing as many assists in all competitions. The Hammers would be reluctant to lose Antonio after offloading the likes of Samir Nasri, Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez already this summer.
Regardless of that, Crystal Palace must reignite their interest and sign Antonio this summer.
The Eagles had an inconsistent 2018/19 campaign, with Roy Hodgson’s side again lacking goals. Christian Benteke spent the majority of the season on the sidelines and when he returned from injury, he hardly made an impact. The loan capture of Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea in the January transfer window proved beneficial, although, he has returned back to his parent club.
Roy Hodgson once again had to depend on Wilfried Zaha for goals. Zaha has established himself as one of the deadliest forwards in the Premier league in recent seasons. He formed a formidable attacking trio with Batshuayi and Townsend which proved instrumental in keeping the Eagles safe in the recently concluded season.
However, the Ivorian has expressed his desire to play Champions League football. He penned a new five-year deal earlier this year; yet, that hasn’t stopped Zaha from attracting interest from a host of European clubs, including Arsenal. Palace don’t want to sell Zaha but they could be tempted to cash him in if a mega bid is tabled.
If Zaha departs Selhurst Park this summer, Hodgson must replace him with Michail Antonio.
A speedy and energetic attacker, Antonio can play anywhere in midfield and attack. He is an excellent ball-carrier in the final third, thanks to his superb composure on the ball. This is coupled with the physical prowess that allows him not only to keep hold of the ball under pressure but also drive past players.
Another key feature of the 29-year-old’s game is his raw pace. He is not only a clinical finisher in front of goal but he also boasts of good well-rounded passing attributes to drop down and play in a No.10 role. Antonio combines his body balance, upper body strength and exceptional close control to wreak havoc in the final third.
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The former Nottingham Forest man’s subtle movement off the ball and ability to find the target from helps him keep the defenders on their toes.
Hence, Palace should not hesitate to sign Antonio, who could be a boost in helping Hodgson achieve his next season’s objectives.