Why Crystal Palace should plot a January move for Michail Antonio
Back in June, a report from the Sun had claimed that Crystal Palace were interested in West Ham attacker Michail Antonio as they eyed Wilfried Zaha replacement. But West Ham were determined to keep hold of the 29-year-old this season.
West Ham strengthened their attack through the signings of Pablo Fornals and Sebastien Haller, whose arrivals could see Michail Antonio’s opportunities limited this campaign.
That hasn’t been the case, as Michail Antonio played the first three games of the new season before suffering a hamstring injury in West Ham’s Carabao Cup victory over Newport County.
The recent injury could see the 29-year-old sidelined at least for six weeks, curtailing his promising start to the season. That will be a worry for Manuel Pellegrini, who’ll now have to rely upon the likes of Felipe Anderson, Manuel Lanzini, Pablo Fornals, Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko.
Antonio’s injury is a disappointment but it’ll give the likes of Fornals and Yarmolenko to cement their place in the starting XI.
In recent seasons, injuries have hampered Antonio and it has stopped him from trying to take his game to the next level. He had also started the 2019/20 campaign well but now faces a spell on the sidelines.
He’ll have to earn his place in Pellegrini’s s starting XI once he recovers from the hamstring injury.
As far as Palace are concerned, they had a decent transfer window having signed the likes Gary Cahill, James McCarthy and Victor Camarasa, whilst making Jordan Ayew’s loan move a permanent one from Swansea City. But the Eagles’ biggest victory was keeping hold of their star man Wilfried Zaha, amid reports of interest from Arsenal and Everton, among others.
Yet, Roy Hodgson’s side look short of quality going forward and they could solve this problem by reviving their interest in Michail Antonio in January.
Antonio offers plenty of versatility, capable of playing in various positions across the front-line as well as a wing-back when required.
When fully fit, the ex-Nottingham Forest winger brings qualities that are unique to the side; pace, power and strength that absolutely frightens opposing full-backs. Despite some flaws in his game, the 29-year-old’s desire, attitude and determination to prove himself has never been in question.
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He tends to come alive in 1v1 situations and beat his marker with his dribbling skills, speed and trickery inside the opposition penalty box. Antonio could potentially form a potent front three with the likes of Zaha and Townsend at Palace, whilst offering an outlet for counter-attacks.
Antonio will offer a different dimension to Palace’s play, providing all the aforementioned physical attributes that some of Hodgson’s players may lack. Hence, it makes absolute sense for the Eagles to make a move for the 29-year-old in January.