Since signing from Nottingham Forrest in 2015, Michail Antonio has become a persistent force in the West Ham attack. The attacker joined in a deal reportedly worth £8.5m (as per Transfermarkt) and has subsequently provided more than West Ham bargained for.
Antonio played much of his career in lower league football, starting his career at non-league club Tooting & Mitcham United. The forward then moved to Reading, where he was loaned out an impressive five times. The trajectory from there is quite remarkable.
Although Antonio only has a career-high nine league goals for the Hammers, the forward is instrumental in much of West Ham’s forward play. His strength, speed and determination make him a handful for any defence.
However, it’s not just his attacking threat that has made him such an asset for West Ham over the years. The Englishman has represented his side as a right-back, winger and a striker. His willingness to play in alternative positions is something of a dream to any manager.
A player from which commitment never waivers – who could ask for more? What’s more, is that he has arguably excelled in each position.
This season has seen Antonio drop more to the bench, more regularly having an impact as a substitute. However, it would still take a fee much larger than £8.5m to prize their fan favourite from them.
Yes, the market has indeed changed since 2015. But Antonio has scored 24 goals in 105 Premier League games. For a player who has played much of his time both as a right-back and a winger, this is a great return – especially for his fairly insubstantial transfer fee.
The West Ham man is now in the midst of his prime, edging closer to the somewhat dreaded 30 mark. He will want to be playing regular first-team football, and settling for a substitute role may not be enough for the attacker in the long run.
However, if Antonio is to move on in the future, he will be certainly have been more than worth his initial transfer fee.
West Ham fans – how much of a bargain has Antonio proved to be over the years?