By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

24th Nov, 2020 | 2:00pm

Exclusive: McAvennie urges West Ham to hand Antonio new long-term contract

We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…

Frank McAvennie has urged West Ham to get Michail Antonio tied down to a new, long-term contract with his existing terms set to expire at the end of the season.

In the summer, David Moyes confirmed that there is an option to extend the 30-year-old’s contract until 2022 [Sky Sports] but according to The Athletic, the forward would rather discuss a new long-term deal as he would be happy to stay at the London Stadium for the rest of his career.

It was reported that discussions between Antonio and West Ham could take place in December or January with the ex-Nottingham Forest player wanting a new four-year contract.

Ex-West Ham star McAvennie believes that a three-year deal with the option of an extra 12 months would be beneficial to both the club and Antonio.

Speaking exclusively to West Ham Zone, McAvennie said: “I think he’s one of these boys who are in the gym constantly so you’re going to get four years out of him. Maybe give him three years and then a year option and see what happens.

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“I’m sure he likes it there. I would think he likes London and likes playing for West Ham so I don’t see why he’d want to jeopardise that. He’s not young, he’s on good money and he’ll get better money because of what he’s done there.

“I’ve got no problem with him because he’s proven himself to be a player who puts a shift in and works for the club. I’ve not got any problem with giving him a contract.”

West Ham don’t really need to worry about Antonio’s just yet because even though his current terms expire at the end of the season, they are protected with that option to extend his deal by a further 12 months.

It means that the Hammers can get away without discussing a new contract with Antonio – but do they really want to do that?

In a financial sense, there’s no rush. But in order to keep the player happy, it is best that West Ham just give him whatever he wants.

This year, Antonio has proven himself to be invaluable to David Moyes’ side, scoring three goals in six Premier League appearances this term and eight goals in nine league outings after the coronavirus-enforced suspension was lifted last season.

Antonio’s goals were huge in keeping the Irons in the Premier League last term and could be huge in a push for a top-half finish this season.

Keeping him happy and rewarding him for his brilliant form is more important than the business aspect of any new deal.

In other West Ham news, Fabian Balbuena has hailed Sebastien Haller after West Ham’s win over Sheffield United.