By Will Butcher
West Ham are set to tie down Michail Antonio’s future at the London Stadium by handing him a new long-term contract, according to a reliable journalist.
Guardian journalist Ed Aarons revealed on his personal Twitter account that the 26-year-old attacker was set to put pen to paper on a new five-year deal, worth £70,000 a week – which would total £18.2million in wages.
Michail Antonio set to sign new five-year contract with West Ham worth 70k a week #whufc
— Ed Aarons (@ed_aarons) January 18, 2017
The Times claimed earlier this month that Chelsea had identified Antonio as a January target, but he is now expected to sign a new deal that will keep him in claret and blue until 2021.
The renewed terms for Antonio come after a wonderful first half to the season in east London, despite his side’s poor form in the Premier League under manager Slaven Bilic.
Remaining as the Hammers’ top scorer with eight goals in all competitions, Antonio has played in a number of positions including right-back and as a centre-forward for the east London side.
Antonio reminded fans on Saturday just how important he is to the Hammers side by providing all three assists in the 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace, including a left-footed cross for Andy Carroll’s wonderful bicycle kick.
Since his move to east London from Championship side Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2015, Antonio has has scored 17 goals in 60 league and cup appearances.
Football Insider verdict:
After helping secure a hugely impressive victory against Sam Allardyce’s Palace, manager Bilic has reportedly eased the mood around east London by offering the Hammers’ best performer this season a new contract. In what will be a huge boost to fans after Chelsea’s reported interest and the impending loss of last season’s star player Dimitri Payet, keeping Antonio is of the highest importance. Antonio’s form has caught the eye of England this season, and he could be named in the next Three Lions’ squad in March. Keeping the former Southampton, Reading and Sheffield Wednesday star will be a huge boost to fans, staff and players alike as Bilic looks to put the Payet saga behind him and continue the Hammers move up the Premier League table.
In other West Ham news, Everton and the Hammers are set to miss out on this £25million-rated playmaker.