West Ham star reveals how Premier League players find out a club is interested in them

Michail Antonio of West Ham United celebrates scoring

Premier League star Michail Antonio has given a rare insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of football transfers.

The 34-year-old joined West Ham from Nottingham Forest in 2015 for a modest fee of £7million. But that loyalty to the east Londoners doesn't mean suitors haven't come calling for his services over the past nine years, reported The Mirror.

In fact, Antonio has come close to leaving the Hammers on occasion and even had his bags packed at one point in the not too distant past. The veteran recently opened up about his mental health struggles but also explained how he handles transfer interest.

"So, I have an agent, and mine is like a brother to me," said Antonio during a recent appearance on the High Performance podcast. "I used to play with him. The craziest thing is I used to play with him at Tooting and Mitcham. So he'll get a phone call from the [interested] club saying 'We're interested.' Then my agent will speak to West Ham and see whether they want to do it or not.

"And then sometimes he tells me, and sometimes he doesn't. Because he doesn't wanna distract me from my football. Unless he feels that it's something that will drive me, then he will tell me."

When asked about any scrapes with the London Stadium over the years, Antonio revealed that last summer was the "closest he's come to leaving." A club had put in a bid that exceeded West Ham's asking price, but the Hammers decided at the last minute Antonio wasn't up for grabs.

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The former Reading and Sheffield Wednesday player knew his value was high after a strong start to this season. This convinced the club they didn't need the type of "young, fresh striker" so often linked with a move in recent times.

"No-one comes to you and says, 'We're gonna go young,' but as you get older, you can feel it," he explained. "You feel like they're kind of edging you out. And then you see they're getting linked with more and more strikers [who are] younger, they have a different style of play.

"[You] see the type of players coming in, [are they] your style of play, or is it different? It's all about the different philosophies, because every manager plays completely different. [Manuel] Pellegrini is completely different to David Moyes, Slaven Bilic is completely different to Pellegrini. So it's all on their philosophies and whether I fit into it."

Antonio's contract is set to expire this summer, but he could reach a decade at West Ham if both he and the club activate a 12-month extension clause. With three goals in his last five games, the Jamaica international is once again proving he may be worth the investment.