The prospect of a revitalised Eden Hazard running at a full back is a concern for many fans, and it certainly is for West Ham fans.
Michail Antonio is a winger who wants to attack, he is not a defender but Slaven Bilic feels he can become a ‘world class’ right back.
The former Nottingham Forest winger is 26 years of age, if he was 20 or 21 I could understand Bilic’s thinking. However, Antonio is coming into the peak years of his footballing career, therefore it’s too late to alter his mentality and make him a ‘world class’ full back. All fans would agree that Bilic is a good manager who is passionate about taking the club to a new level, although I’m confident West Ham won’t take the step up to a new level with a winger playing in defence.
In West Ham’s last 18 games in the league, cup games and friendlies there has been only 2 clean sheets. That defensive record is alarming even though we finished in the top 7, goals conceded against Arsenal, Manchester United, Swansea and Stoke could have been avoided with a more experienced defender playing at full back. It is incredibly difficult to see why an intelligent man like Bilic thinks Antonio should be playing right back when even in games where he was a ‘defender’, he was the team’s most potent threat going forward.
Unfortunately it would appear as if West Ham will start the 2016/2017 Premier League season playing Michail Antonio at right back and there is no indication that the club are looking for a good right back in the transfer window.
Daryl Janmaat of Newcastle has been mentioned by fans on Twitter, he is a competent defender and also poses a threat going forward. The Dutch defender might push for a move to a Premier League club and a switch to East London would surely be attractive after a very poor season in the North East.
Martin Caceres is a free agent after spending numerous seasons at Juventus. The 29 year old is versatile as he can play anywhere along the defence and the Uruguayan is a quality option for West Ham. He is arguably the best free agent in terms of finding an experienced full back with Champions league experience.
The fact that NK Domzale’s second goal was because Antonio was out of position concerns many fans because how will he perform against far more competitive teams? Every West Ham fan hopes that the team build on last season’s success, but with a winger playing in defence for what at the moment appears to be the whole season, it’ll be very difficult. It’s not Antonio’s fault, he’s not a defender and never will be – the position is new to him, so why don’t we go out and sign a quality right-back?