By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

25th Nov, 2020 | 10:35am

McAvennie Exclusive: I can't see Sullivan & Gold letting Antonio exit West Ham for free

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…

Michail Antonio’s contract at West Ham technically expires at the end of the season but Frank McAvennie cannot see David Sullivan and David Gold letting that happen “in a thousand years”.

Antonio, 30, has been West Ham’s best player in 2020 with his goals helping to avoid relegation last season and his goals this season playing a crucial role in an impressive start to the campaign.

The forward’s current terms expire next year and while the Hammers have the option to extend his contract by a further 12 months [Sky Sports], The Athletic has reported that he would prefer to sign a new long-term deal than have his existing one extended.

McAvennie believes that no matter what happens with Antonio, there’s no way that Sullivan or Gold will end up letting the striker’s deal expire next summer.

“He’s a good player and to let him go for nothing would be suicide by the club,” McAvennie told West Ham Zone.

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“I can’t see Mr Sullivan or Mr Gold letting that happen in a thousand years – there’s no way they’ll let him go. Not a chance.

“I wouldn’t have thought so but if they let Antonio go for nothing it would be incredible. It would be silly.”

There’s simply no way that will happen and we expect there to be some movement on Antonio’s contract sooner rather than later.

The Athletic’s report said that talks could take place between the 30-year-old and the club either next month or in January so it’s likely that terms will be agreed.

And whatever Antonio wants, West Ham should give it to him.

No player has scored more goals for the club than him this year and even though Sebastien Haller scored against Sheffield United at the weekend, there’s no doubt in our minds that the ex-Nottingham Forest player is the best striker David Moyes has.

According to stats by WhoScored, Antonio has not only scored more goals than Haller in the Premier League this season, but he’s also averaged more shots, key passes and dribbles per game than the Ivorian international, while also winning more fouls.

If Antonio is fit for the clash against Aston Villa on Monday night then he has to start – even though Haller did grab the winning goal at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

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