Michail Antonio’s representatives spoke to Sky Sport News HQ yesterday and made it very clear that talks over a new contract were at a standstill. Antonio is said to be unhappy at the terms offered to him thus far, rumoured to be £70,000 per week, however his representatives have rubbished this claim.
They said: “Michail Antonio has categorically not been offered a £70,000-a-week contract thereby has never rejected a contract.
“If the club were to offer a deal in that region I am sure it would be signed but the offer was well below that value.”
The Englishman is said to earn around £35,000 a week on his current deal, and would like parity with new signings Jose Fonte and Robert Snodgrass, who have come in on bumper-deals. The West Ham board are aware of the need to reward Antonio for such a fine season, but don’t want to offer too much, so as to set a precedent for the rest of the squad.
Many Premier League teams are interested in signing Antonio this summer, most notably league –leaders Chelsea, who see Antonio as having the ideal make-up to compete for their right wing-back spot.
There is a tricky balancing act to be played here, maintaining a wage structure, at the same time as keeping hold of the teams star men.
A West Ham source spoke out on the claims, again, reported by Sky Sports News HQ: “Antonio will be going nowhere.
“He’s got five years left on his current contract and he’s a valued member of Slaven [Bilic’s] side.
“He’s got the chance to double his money but if it’s not a good enough offer for him then he will have to stay on what he’s on.”
The two sides seem at loggerheads right now. The most likely outcome will be that a middle ground is found, and a new contract signed in the summer. This is all likely just posturing on both Antonio and the club’s part to get the best deal possible.
West Ham should be careful how far they take this though; with many interested parties they could risk unsettling the player so much that he demands a move. The Hammers need to make sure they get the deal signed before all-out war breaks out.