West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

West Ham send clear signal over future of pivotal star after taking decisive action

Declan Rice, Michail Antonio, West Ham v Brighton, December 2021

West Ham will be retaining the services of Michail Antonio for longer than initially expected due to a clause in his contract, according to a report.

Antonio has a big role of responsibility at West Ham, where is the main centre-forward. In fact, there is no-one else in the squad for whom that is a natural position. As such, there is something of a burden on the Jamaica international to get the goals.

It is a pressure he thrives on. So far this season, he has scored eight goals from 19 Premier League appearances – more than any of his teammates.

West Ham continue to look at new strikers for the January transfer window. One year has passed since they sold Sebastien Haller and they are yet to find a replacement.

Some targets have been put off by the idea of playing second fiddle to the in-form Antonio. But the 31-year-old’s form is generally a benefit, rather than a hindrance to the club.

Therefore, they will take it as good news that Antonio will be sticking around until 2025.

As reported by The Sun, West Ham have triggered an option to extend the contract Antonio signed in December 2020. The deal was due to run until 2023, but the club retained an option to lengthen it by two additional years.

They have now taken it up to ensure Antonio will be theirs for the rest of his prime years.

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He had been linked with a surprise move across London to join Tottenham, but any such suggestion would now be off the table.

Instead, West Ham will continue to build around Antonio – although The Sun remind that they are searching for a new signing to be his backup.

It is not yet clear who may fill that void, but it is something that may be addressed before the winter window closes.

West Ham learn terms for Michail Antonio support

One of the other centre-forwards to be linked with West Ham this month is Gabriel Barbosa of Flamengo.

In fact earlier this week Sky Sports reported the Hammers were in talks with Flamengo. The outlet claimed of contact with representatives of the attacker. He has scored 104 goals in 147 games for the Brazilian side.

The 25-year-old, who has 12 goals from 18 top-flight outings this term, is looking for a move to England. He wants to seal his place in the Brazil squad for December’s World Cup and sees the Premier League as the place to do that.

But Flamengo will not sanction a loan move.

Fabrizio Romano says that West Ham were talking about an 18-month loan deal. But there is “no way” they will accept a deal of that nature. Instead they want a permanent transfer and he will “only leave for big proposal”.

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