West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Michail Antonio makes telling admission as West Ham urged to solve transfer failure

Michail Antonio of West Ham

Michail Antonio has made a telling admission about the state of West Ham’s attacking options by urging the Irons to bring in a backup striker this summer.

Antonio has been the club’s only out-and-out striker since Sebastien Haller left for Ajax in January last year. West Ham have had two opportunities to bring in a replacement since then but have been unable to do so.

They pursued Benfica starlet Darwin Nunez in the recent transfer window. According to Fabrizio Romano, Moyes’ team had a €48million (£40.5m) offer rejected by Benfica.

The Irons will continue to monitor his situation ahead of the summer. However, they face competition from some of Europe’s biggest clubs for the goalscorer’s signature.

Antonio has now weighed in on the striker shortage, revealing his desire for a new team-mate to come in.

He told The Footballer’s Football Podcast: “People do not understand when I say ‘I want someone to cover for me, I want a striker to come in’ because I am not just thinking about myself I am thinking about the team and we want the team to finish as high as possible.

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“The higher the team finishes the better it is for me and the team so to have that cover and not just the cover I want someone to push me, I don’t want someone to be there just for when I cannot play I want someone to push me to make me be better and that is the reason why I want someone in to help me.”

Antonio was missing for Saturday’s FA Cup clash against Kidderminster due to international duty. He was sorely missed in attack as the Irons were taken to extra time and only just reached the fifth round.

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Merson talks Declan Rice future

Meanwhile, pundit Paul Merson has told Manchester United to ‘break the bank’ for West Ham star Declan Rice.

Rice, 23, has been steadily improving at West Ham and he starred for England at the Euros last summer. United and Chelsea have been heavily linked with the player over the last 18 months and Merson thinks he will move on at the end of the season.

“I think Declan Rice will be gone this summer,” Merson told Sky Sports. “I think it will be Man Utd, if you’re Man Utd you’ve got to break the bank.

“If you look at their midfield it is not strong enough. They don’t dominate football matches and for me, they have to go and get him.

“I think he is the best in the business. He has improved immensely, he has taken his game up not one or two. I think he has taken it up ten-fold.

“From a holding midfield player, he is bombing forward, scoring goals, getting chances, and making goals. I can’t talk highly enough of the lad, I think he’s been absolutely phenomenal.

“Chelsea could go and get him but they could do without him. They’ve still got Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante – three unbelievable midfield players and they dominate football matches.

“But you look at Man Utd and the midfield isn’t strong enough to win anything really.”

READ MORE: West Ham slap new price tag on Declan Rice after David Moyes dismisses £100m as ‘cheap sales’