By Jonty Banks

20th Mar, 2023 | 11:45am

West Ham United must learn Craig Dawson lesson after Michail Antonio linked with Everton transfer

Selling to Premier League rivals can often be a dangerous move, and West Ham United have started a worrying trend of offloading players to such clubs in the last year.

Last summer, the club decided to part ways with Issa Drop and give the green light for a transfer to Fulham for £15million, before repeating this formula with centre-back Craig Dawson to Wolves in January.

Both defenders have experienced terrific campaigns since leaving the London Stadium, and Michail Antonio is now the latest Hammers player to be linked with a move to a direct rival, with The Sun [19 March] reporting that Everton are lining up a move for the striker if they avoid relegation.

The 32-year-old has blown hot and cold this campaign for David Moyes but remains the club’s top goalscorer in the history of the Premier League with 59 goals.

Considering his previous heroics for the club, and the lack of alternative options that Moyes has at his disposal, it would be a naive move to sanction Antonio’s exit this summer – especially to a club who West Ham are neck-and-neck with this campaign.

The Irons’ number nine highlighted last year exactly what he brings to the table: Pace, power and clinical edge when he is fully firing.

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Although he may not be a starter every single week of the season, Antonio would be an extremely useful player to keep at the London Stadium next season.

Furthermore, looking at the way Diop and Dawson have taken their games to the next level since departing the club must ring alarm bells. Selling to Premier League rivals is a dangerous game to play at the best of times, let alone after a Premier League season which could quite easily end in relegation.

If the club decide to sanction Antonio’s exit this summer, then so be it, but it could quite easily come back to haunt them if they allow him to leave for a club battling relegation.

As the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

West Ham United have already fallen into this trap twice, and it is time they finally learn from their mistakes.