The season may have only ended a week ago but with the transfer window now open for business, it comes as little surprise to see Crystal Palace being linked with all sorts of potential transfers, including an audacious move for West Ham’s Michail Antonio.
The 28-year-old has been on the Hammers’ books since 2015, making 90 appearances during that time but with Palace right-back Joel Ward seemingly all set to leave Selhurst Park on a free transfer this summer and Ruben Loftus-Cheek likely to try and break into Chelsea’s first-team set-up, it is Antonio’s positional versatility which is said to be the key factor in Palace’s interest.
It’s easy to forget now, but the former Tooting & Mitcham man is well known to Palace’s technical director Dougie Freedman, who managed him back in 2015, when the pair were together at Nottingham Forest. Indeed, the Scot has often spoken glowingly about Michail’s physical attributes, previously likening him to Palace star Wilfried Zaha, given the fact that both men seem to thrive when being put under physical pressure by their covering defenders.
It was in fact Freedman who oversaw the deal which took Antonio from The City Ground to West Ham in September of 2015, making him uniquely qualified to judge how a player like him would fit into Roy Hodgson’s plans ahead of the new Premier League season. Unfortunately, Michail is currently contracted to the Irons until 2021, leaving the ball in their court over whether or not to accept a bid but on the face of things, it’s not difficult to understand why those behind the scenes at Selhurst Park are keen to explore the possibility of a transfer taking place.
With Manuel Pellegrini seemingly set to take over the reins at The London Stadium, no one can be quite sure whether or not Antonio will play a key role in his plans for the team from August but if there is even a hint of uncertainty once pre-season gets underway, you can probably expect Palace to throw their hat into the ring ahead of any possible bidding war taking place.
We’ll keep you updated.