West Ham’s talks with Michail Antonio stall as winger is ruled out for season

Ed Aarons
The Guardian

West Ham’s talks with Michail Antonio over a new contract have stalled, with the winger’s representatives holding out for a salary of £70,000 a week for the club’s top scorer.

Manager Slaven Bilic confirmed on Thursday that Antonio will not play again this season after suffering a “significant” hamstring injury in last weekend’s 1-0 win over Swansea – an injury that could threaten his participation in England’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland on 10 June.

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But despite Bilic’s announcement before the game against Arsenal on 5 April that the player signed from Nottingham Forest in 2015 would be offered a new deal this summer, it is understood that the 27-year-old has rejected their latest offer.

Antonio, who has scored nine Premier League goals this season, only signed a contract extension until 2020 last summer but has become a key player for West Ham despite their struggles this season. He is believed to be unhappy with the latest offer, considering it way below his market value given the winger’s performances this season.

Chelsea are among the other clubs to have shown an interest in Antonio, although at this stage there has been no official approaches for the player who began his career at nonleague Tooting & Mitcham.

Bilic made no secret of his disappointment at his prospective absence as West Ham prepare to face Sunderland on Sunday.

“It is a significant injury, he is out for the season,” said Bilic. “It’s a big blow, he is one of our best players.”

"It's a big blow with Antonio because he has been good in every game. We have options up front with Andy Carroll and Jonathan Calleri.

"We're likely going to need both Andy and Jonathan on Saturday and they'll share the minutes on the pitch," added the Croatian.

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