West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has never appeared to be fully convinced by versatile Hammers ace Michail Antonio.
However, there is no doubt that the 29-year-old was one of the team’s star men towards the end of the season. He was pushed into an advanced role, playing just off Marko Arnautovic, and the Englishman flourished.
Now would be a bad time to part ways with the player, then, wouldn’t it? Damn right it would. That’s why the report from Football Insider on Friday stating that Crystal Palace are ready to make a move for the former Nottingham Forest man is so concerning for the West Ham faithful.
The Eagles are thought to have a long-held interest in the player and tried to sign him last summer, but ultimately failed. Now, though, it appears they are set to return for the Hammers utility man.
It would be foolish, to say the least, for Pellegrini to offload Antonio this summer. It’s not often, as a manger, that you have someone in your squad who can play in three of four different positions.
Antonio has shown he can fill in at right back, on both wings and up front. He could likely do a job in any position on the pitch, except, perhaps, in goal.
It would be senseless to get rid of him now when he’s just rediscovering his old form. Plus, he’s one of the few West Ham players who offers a goal threat from midfield. That, plus his natural understanding with Arnautovic, makes it worth keeping him at the London Stadium.
No, it’s imperative that the Hammers keep hold of their most versatile footballer this summer. Palace may well be interested, but Pellegrini should show them the door.