Michail Antonio is in a superb position to stronghold David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady, as West Ham United reportedly strive to secure the striker with a long-term contract.
According to Claret & Hugh, the Irons are confident of retaining Antonio when they open discussions with the 30-year-old this December following his stellar start to the season.
Antonio is due to become a free agent in the summer, though West Ham have the option of extending his current £70,000-per-week terms by a further year in order to avoid losing the Tooting & Mitcham United product without compensation.
But the Hammers are edging away from triggering their clause as club chiefs favour awarding Antonio a two-year deal featuring a substantial pay rise, and may yet persist with signing the fan-favourite to a longer contract in talks scheduled for Christmas.
Irons boss David Moyes has relied on Antonio to carry the offensive burden heavily this season with the powerhouse forward leading the line in six Premier League fixtures, yet has been without the uncapped England international for recent matches through a hamstring injury.
The issue was expected to sideline Antonio for up to six weeks, but Moyes has confirmed he is making good progress after returning to the grass pitches and could be in line for a return sooner than expected.
West Ham’s eagerness to retain Antonio comes at the perfect time for the striker to stronghold GSB in talks over his future, as he has shown his importance to Moyes’ plans tenfold since the Premier League season resumed in June.
Antonio, who earns £70,000-a-week according to Spotrac, struck eight of his 10 goals for the 2019/20 campaign in the nine matches played during Project Restart, including a four-goal haul away to Norwich City and efforts that either secured points or aided to wins against Chelsea, Newcastle and Manchester United.
His form prior to limping off injured against Manchester City this season also featured three goals, including the Irons’ initial equaliser in defeat to Arsenal and an acrobatic bicycle kick to open to scoring at home to the Sky Blues before Phil Foden’s second-half response.
Those efforts all came after Moyes called for a response from the attacker after Antonio struggled at the Emirates Stadium last term.
“I think Mikey gives us so much, so many things and he has improved, his fitness levels are up, his game is up, he’s improving, but you’re talking about the big games and the moments, when you get the chances at Arsenal you need to take them,” Moyes said in March, via quotes by football.london.
“Just like the defenders make sure they don’t lose concentration at any time, I just felt like we messed up a good couple of chances to score. Mikey is doing well though.”
Antonio has done more than “well” since, and will know his importance to West Ham when talks commence later in the year.