West Ham News

BBC pundit sends West Ham warning over potential summer signing

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Former West Ham striker Carlton Cole has backed Michail Antonio to be first-choice next season and questioned if the club can sign anyone better than him.

Antonio has been the first-choice striker under David Moyes and is the club’s all-time top scorer in the Premier League, but the club have been persistently linked with a new striker in the transfer market.

With the summer window fast approaching and striker links rife, BBC pundit Cole has defended the Jamaica international while speaking to The Sun via Bookmakers.com and says the club must get any new signing right or it could affect the squad’s morale.

“When you bring someone into the club in the January window, they’re expected to play straight away… But they won’t, because we’ve got Antonio,” he said.

“You’ve got to get the right striker. And what striker that’s worth their weight in gold is going to want to come in and sit on the bench?

“You’d want a physical striker up front and I think there are players out there with those attributes that can occupy two or three defenders. They need to be able to hold the ball up, maybe turn – might not be as quick as him (Antonio).

“But that’s the trade off you’re going to get. So as I said, your scouting has to go for that sort of player.

“You can’t just bring a player in that doesn’t have these attributes, so you have to go and get the closest one to that. And if we do go and get that one, is he willing to sit on the bench? Is he going to be better than Antonio? probably not. We can’t just sign any striker to get a body in.

“This takes time to get the right man in and money as well – you can’t just waste money on the wrong striker just because we need an extra player.

“People always forget as well. When you bring a new player into the fold, his attitude has to be right, he’s got to be ready to fight for the team and pass Moyes’ character test.

“It takes a lot of scouting to do that. We’ve just changed our chief scout, so he has to look at the dynamics and the chemistry of our team first and bring in the right character.

“We’re doing really well, but if you bring just one bad apple into the club, the team’s morale goes downwards.”