West Ham ace makes remarkable transfer claim: I could have joined English club for just £7
By Matt Farr
West Ham star Michail Antonio has admitted that AFC Wimbledon declined the chance to sign him as a teenager for just £7.
Antonio, 26, has taken the Premier League by storm this season, netting eight goals and five assists from 25 appearances.
However, he recently admitted to BBC Radio 5 Live that his route to the very top was not entirely a smooth one, revealing his struggles to land a transfer at a professional club.
He claimed that AFC Wimbledon, who currently play their football in League One, had refused to pay his measly registration fee to allow him to feature for the club.
Antonio said: “So I had a trial for the first-team [at Tooting and Mitcham], got into the first-team, and started playing.
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“But then they wanted me to sign a contract. I didn’t wanted to sign a contract so they kicked me out of the team.
“Then I went to AFC Wimbledon. They didn’t want to pay for my registration fee. £7.”
The winger eventually quit Tooting and Mitcham in 2008 to sign for Reading, but spent much of his time at the Madejski Stadium out on loan.
An emergency loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday in 2012 saw him earn a permanent switch to Hillsborough at the end of the campaign, and he played a starring role for the Owls the following season.
From his 78 appearances for the club in the league, Antonio netted an impressive 17 goals. His form then saw him make the switch to Nottingham Forest in 2014-15, where he picked up where he left off in front of goal.
He scored a remarkable 15 goals in his first season with the club, before joining West Ham for a fee of £7million roughly a year later.
West Ham are now believed to be looking to offer their star man a new contract in east London worth a reported £70,000-per-week, as a reward for his impressive hard-work and performances.
In other West Ham news, the Hammers are considering offering a new two-year deal to this senior man.