This belief that Slaven Bilic has in Michail Antonio to become not only the permanent right-back for the club, but go on to be one of the best in the world, is one that is really dividing opinion with the West Ham faithful.
You could say we saw enough of him last season in the position to show us that he adds another option in attack, as well as having someone in front of him. He managed to even score a few goals.
But the argument against is that he isn’t up to it at all in positional terms, and having him further up the field would only help us more on the goal front. Either scoring himself (which as I said he managed to do a few times even at right-back) or creating all sorts of problems with his crossing ability and general work rate.
Antonio strikes me as a guy who really just loves playing football and he made such an impression on us all last season. He wouldn’t kick up a fuss about having to play wherever and that’s just what the fans love about the guy and the effort he puts in when wearing the claret and blue.
The signings of Gokhan Tore and Sofiane Feghouli have only added to the faith Slaven Bilic has in Michail to be the right-back this season.
I’m hoping we get to see more of Sam Byram this season. I’m not sure if it’s a case of Slaven not feeling he isn’t up to it yet or that he isn’t that keen on him. Time will tell on that one, but if that’s the case I think we should be looking to bring in another and I’m sure many would agree with me on this.
There was the strong rumour we offered a contract to Thomas Meuneir, who went on to sign for PSG. Now I’m sure that he would have been a signing who will have been happy to be sitting on the bench or fighting it out with Antonio. This gave me and many others the impression that Slav was clearly looking for a right-back.
Wolves’ Dominic Iorfa looks a very exciting prospect and I know how highly they think of him at the club. Mattia Di Sciglio at AC Milan would also be very exciting and would cost the club under £10m.
It could well be the case that nothing now takes a fancy for Slav in the market and he is sticking to trying to make Antonio into the next best thing in the position.
I think we are just going to have to stick with the gaffer on this one and hope for the best.
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