Reggae Boy striker Michail Antonio on Saudi Pro League radar: West Ham hitman could be lured by big bucks deal with Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq

By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd July 24, 2023

Michail Antonio, who almost quit Premier League side West Ham in January to join either Everton or Wolves, is a target for the lucrative Saudi Pro League.
West Ham will be keen to cash in on the 33-year-old Jamaican international, whose contract expires at the end of the 2023/24 campaign, with a fee of £10m being touted.

Antonio, who failed to find the back of the net for the Reggae Boyz during this month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, would earn significantly more than his reported £85,000-a-week salary with the Hammers.

Facing the twilight years of his career, although very much part of Jamaica’s plans for the 2026 FIFA World Cup finals under head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, the London-born forward could strike it rich in the Saudi Pro League.

Steven Gerrard, the former Aston Villa and Rangers head coach, has taken over the helm at Al Ettifaq in Dammam. Last week he tempted England midfielder Jordan Henderson to the Prince Mohamed bin Fahd Stadium, but now urgently requires a top notch striker before the new season kicks off on 14 August.

It appears to be a two-horse race for Gerrard to sign either Antonio or AC Milan’s Belgium forward Divock Origi, a former Liverpool star.

West Ham would find losing Antonio a big blow, as he is their leading top-flight scorer since 1992, having bagged 61 Premier League goals since joining the club eight years ago.

Antonio notched 14 goals across 48 games in all competitions last term, with half-a-dozen scored during West Ham’s Europa Conference League triumph.

With West Ham eager to build on lifting their first European trophy since 1965, head coach David Moyes has been seeking long-term striking reinforcements should the reliable Antonio make a move. Chelsea’s Armando Broja and Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri are his shortlist.

Antonio, who has scored three times for Jamaica since making his debut in 2021, has been the preferred starter for Moyes as he has outshone team-mates Danny Ings and Gianluca Scamacca.

A lucrative move to the Saudi Pro League would keep Antonio on his toes, as some of the world’s leading players are being lured by money-making contracts.

 

Related items

  • Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive Fiorentina 2-2 Napoli: Kvaratskhelia keeps visitors' slim European hopes alive

    Dethroned Italian champions Napoli's hopes of playing European football next season are hanging by a thread after they played out a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina in Serie A on Friday.

    Napoli took the lead in the eighth minute through defender Amir Rrahmani, who nodded home a corner by Matteo Politano.

    Cristiano Biraghi levelled for Fiorentina in the 40th minute from a free-kick, before M'Bala Nzola put the hosts in front two minutes later when he fired a shot into the bottom corner of the net.

    Napoli's Khvicha Kvaratskhelia responded with another stunning free-kick early in the second half to rescue a point for his team.

    Eighth-placed Fiorentina, on 54 points and with a game in hand, are five points behind Lazio in seventh.

    They can still earn a Europa League spot either by leapfrogging the Rome side or by winning the Europa Conference League final in which they face Greece's Olympiakos on May 29.

    Ninth-placed Napoli, on 52 points, still have a slim chance of making the Europa Conference League playoffs.

    Data Debrief

    Fiorentina left-back Biraghi has now scored six goals from direct free-kicks since the start of 2021-22, which is behind only James Ward-Prowse (seven) - now of West Ham and formerly of Southampton - as the most across Europe's top five leagues in that period.

    Kvaratskhelia also levelled via a direct free-kick, making this the first Serie A match in which both teams scored via that route since Fiorentina against Lazio in April 2018 (Jordan Veretout and Luis Alberto in that case).

  • Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United Southampton 3-1 West Brom (3-1 agg): Saints set up play-off final with Leeds United

    Southampton saw off West Brom 3-1 at St Mary's on Friday to set up a Championship play-off final showdown with Leeds United.

    Leeds thumped Norwich City 4-0 at Elland Road 24 hours earlier to book their place at Wembley, where Southampton now await on May 26.

    The first leg between the Saints and West Brom finished goalless - just like the other semi-final - but the home side's quality told in the end.

    Russell Martin's side dominated the first-half possession, with David Brooks going closest to scoring with a shot that hit the outside of the post.

    Southampton made the breakthrough via a powerful Will Smallbone finish four minutes into the second half after Gray Diangana lost possession.

    Darnell Furlong had a shot helped over by Alex McCarthy, while David Brooks - who assisted the opener - had a strong penalty appeal rejected.

    Southampton remained in control, though, and Adam Armstrong scored a second with a shot through Furlong's legs and past Alex Palmer.

    Armstrong's second goal arrived from the penalty spot in the 86th minute after Tom Fellows fouled Ryan Manning in the box, rendering Cedric Kipre's late header a mere consolation.

  • Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension Marc Skinner signs Manchester United Women contract extension

    Marc Skinner has signed a one-year contract extension as Manchester United Women head coach with the option of a further 12 months.

    The 41-year-old guided United to their first major silverware last weekend with victory over Tottenham in the Women's FA Cup final.

    United are fifth in the Women's Super League with one game to go - a massive drop on last term's runners-up finish - but Skinner will stay on.

    "It's an honour to extend my stay at Manchester United," Skinner, who was appointed in 2021, told United's official website after the news was confirmed on Friday. 

    "I've always felt at home here, with our excellent players, staff, and fans.

    "Being able to secure the team's first major trophy at Wembley was a real career highlight for me and another sign of our continued growth, on and off the field."

    United conclude their campaign on Saturday against Chelsea, who lead Manchester City on goal difference entering the final day.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.