Transfer deadline day over two months ago was probably the most exciting an avid West Ham supporter has ever witnessed.
Midfield unit Alex Song was brought in for a second loan spell, Victor Moses came in on a temporary basis from Chelsea, Croatian international Nikica Jelavic was also added to increase the depth of the squad and winger Michail Antonio cost £7m from Championship outfit Nottingham Forest.
Despite the undoubted talent accumulated by manager Slaven Bilic, it is the latter that we’ve been surprised hasn’t featured at all, apart from the last remaining minutes of our tremendous victory at Manchester City in September.
With star man and fans favourite Dimitri Payet side lined until February with a severe ankle injury, many thought Antonio would be given the chance to shine and prove he is capable of dealing with the pressures of the Premier league.
However, on the evidence of Sunday’s humiliating 4-1 defeat at the hands of rivals Spurs, it seems Bilic prefers to play striker Diafra Sakho in a right wing position.
For a player that is well renowned for his burning pace and excellent finishing, these are the exact attributes West Ham need to recover from last week’s defeat, so what does Antonio need to do to gain a place in the starting XI?
Nottingham Forest’s player of the season last year, Antonio completed 123 dribbles, more than any other Championship player at the beginning of last season and successfully completed 152 dribbles, more than any other player in the last two seasons.
There is no doubt Antonio will have more of a positive effective on the right than Sakho and if Bilic thinks otherwise then this would be one of the few mistakes he has made in his short tenure at Upton Park – particularly on the basis of his preference to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, instead of Sakho partnering someone up front.
So far this season, Antonio has notched four goals in six appearances, more than Moses and Sakho combined this season.
With his lightning speed and prowess in front of goal, the winger, whose footballing career started and remained in non-league football for a considerable amount of time, the former Tooting and Mitcham United player can easily cause trouble to most teams in England’s top flight, especially in the Hammers next game against Tony Pulis’ West Brom.
With the many qualities he possess, his goal tally for Forest, his humble beginnings as a professional footballer and the absence of players like Payet and Enner Valencia, Antonio’s eagerness to gain some minutes on the pitch in a claret and blue shirt will be welcomed by the West ham fan.
Let’s hope he’s given the chance to prove he can make a difference in a squad that has strength in depth at its helm.