A few days back, it was reported (The Sun) that Chelsea have a made West ham United’s 26-year-old star Michail Antonio a top target, and if that really was the case, then their pursuit has dealt a big blow as according to the reports from the Guardian, the former Nottingham Forest man is all set to sign a new five-and-a-half year contract at West Ham worth £70,000 a week.
This contract certainly is a no-brainer, as the English international has been one of those few bright sparks for the Hammers this season. It is quite evident that West Ham are struggling big time, and their inability to score goals has been the major factor in their downfall, but even after this, Antonio has managed to equal his last season’s tally of eight goals and three assists already.
The Hammers are dealing with their fair share of problems and it is all but certain that Dimitri Payet will leave the club and besides the Frenchman, Sofiane Feghouli is in talks with AS Roma for a potential transfer and Zaza has already left, hence tying Antonio down has been the best thing happened for the club this season.
The prime reasons for Antonio being a transfer target for Chelsea is certainly his versatility, as the Englishman has played a variety of positions for the Hammers including the wing-back role. He was quite unhappy before as he was deployed in a much defensive spot (right-back) last season and at the start of the season, but a change in tactic has fortuitously worked wonders for Antonio.
Michail Antonio was in bed with flu yesterday, got out of bed pulled on his shirt & played magnificently today – that’s dedication for you
— Lady Brady (@karren_brady) January 14, 2017
In the midst of all these issues (including Payet’s one), West Ham’s vice-chairman, Karren Brady, took a dig and showed the appreciation for Antonio’s commitment for the club.
Antonio would have been a perfect fit Chelsea, but certainly not this season, as Conte might have gone with his already stable back-line and that should have relegated Michail to the bench, which certainly would have been a poor sight to see. But keeping the futuristic prospects in mind, the 26-year-old former Nottingham Forest man is a perfected personnel to bring that much-needed depth in the squad.
Since it is quite clear by now that Chelsea will again be playing the Champions League football next season, a proper deputy in the wing-back spot would have been the primary target for Conte, hence monitoring Michail’s situation did make sense, but all that has gone in ashes, as the player is set to agree a new deal and if Chelsea tends to bring him in, they will need to splash a lot of cash in the summer.