Why West Ham have struck gold with a new deal for Michail Antonio

According to BBC, West Ham forward Michail Antonio has signed a new contract to extend his stay at the London Stadium until at least 2023. The 30-year-old’s previous deal had been due to expire next summer but the Hammers have moved quickly to tie him down to a new two-year contract.

The Guardian claims that the new deal will see Antonio receive a hike on his previous £70,000-a-week wages in East London. Having come through the door as a winger for £7million from Nottingham Forest back in 2015, the former Reading star has firmly established himself as a fan favourite at West Ham for his goalscoring exploits. 

Antonio had been utilised as a floater in a wide variety of roles, ranging from a wide attacker to a centre-forward and also as a full-back. David Moyes, though, has been content to regularly deploy him as the spearhead of the attack and the London-born star has found his best form in that position.  

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West Ham United’s English midfielder Michail Antonio (C) vies with Aston Villa’s English defender Ezri Konsa (L) during the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Aston Villa at The London Stadium, in east London on November 30, 2020. (Getty Images)

The 30-year-old started the previous campaign behind Sebastien Haller in the pecking order before establishing himself as the club’s first-choice centre-forward following the appointment of Moyes. Antonio bagged 8 goals in 6 league games after the restart in June, with his impressive form instrumental in West Ham’s successful battle against relegation.

Antonio hit the ground running in 2020-21 with his first goal of the campaign in the 2-1 defeat against Arsenal back in September. He followed it up with another striker in the 3-0 rout of Leicester in October before finding the net with a stunning bicycle kick to help his team earn a 1-1 draw against Manchester City.

The versatile forward has since struggled with injuries, making only a solitary league appearance against Aston Villa in November. Antonio is yet to recover completely from his thigh injury and could return to action in January, with Haller expected to continue as the leader of the line for the time being.

That, however, hasn’t stopped West Ham from tying Michail Antonio down to fresh and improved terms. The deal comes as a recognition of the player’s impressive form this year, with the 30-year-old taking his overall goal tally for the club up to 39 in the Premier League. That puts him 4th on the London club’s list of all-time top goalscorers in the top-flight.

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Michail Antonio has scored 39 PL goals for the Hammers so far (Getty Images)

Antonio’s overall tally of 41 goals and 22 assists in 161 appearances clearly shows that he has been an excellent servant to West Ham over the past five-and-a-half years. He has progressed by leaps and bounds to establish himself as a quality player in the Premier League, earning several contract extensions in the process.

The player’s latest deal sees him commit the remainder of his prime years to the Hammers, considering that he will be 33 by the time he reaches the end of his tenure. With Antonio very much in the form of his life over the past six months, his best years still potentially lie ahead of him at 30. 

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Verdict

West Ham currently do not have too much cover in front of goal, so tying Michail Antonio down to a new contract was always going to be high on the club’s agenda. Despite his struggles with injuries, the 30-year-old remains a key cog in the Hammers’ forward line and it was a no-brainer for West Ham to extend his deal.

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