Michail Antonio has been regularly linked with a move to Crystal Palace over the last 12 months and in the last 24 hours, a few fan-run West Ham sites have suggested that the 28-year-old is high on the Eagles’ priority list ahead of the January transfer window.
Born in Wandsworth, Antonio is well known to the Palace scouting system, having started his career on Tooting & Mitcham’s books all the way back in 2002. Although the winger signed for Reading in 2008, he was loaned back to the non-league outfit in 2009, scoring seven goals in just nine appearances during his second stint at Imperial Fields.
Fresh loan moves to the likes of Cheltenham, Southampton and Colchester followed before Sheffield Wednesday took him on a temporary basis before convincing Reading to sell in the summer of 2012. The move was to work out well for Michail, who went on to score 18 goals in 84 appearances for the Owls before Nottingham Forest somewhere in the region of £1.5 million to sign him in August of 2014.
It was during his time at The City Ground that he came to formally work under the management of Dougie Freedman, who now holds the title of Crystal Palace’s Sporting Director. Having come across the then 25-year-old some years previously, the Scotsman knew he had a real talent on his hands and supposedly remains a big fan to this day, which would go a long way to explaining Palace’s constant interest in him over the last year or so.
The winger has struggled visibly with injuries throughout that time but after failing to agree fresh terms with wide-man Bakary Sako over the summer, Palace are noticeably light depth-wise in wide areas, giving this story a feasible feel. Quite how much the Hammers would be looking for to sell Antonio in January remains a mystery but after successive windows in which we’ve been linked with Michail, it may well be third time lucky for our recruitment staff.
Would you like to see the local lad turning out in red and blue in 2019?