West Brom ready to raid Midlands rivals Forest for £5m winger Antonio
West Bromwich Albion have reportedly turned to Michail Antonio, Nottingham Forest’s Player of the Year, in their search for wide options, according to reports in the local press.
Baggies boss Tony Pulis is known to want another winger to strengthen his squad at The Hawthorns for next season, and has also been linked with Matt Phillips from relegated QPR, plus an attempt to hijack Aston Villa signing Scott Sinclair permanently from Manchester City.
Midlands rivals Forest were slapped with a transfer embargo for failing to operate within Financial Fair Play, which means they can only recruit this summer via loans and free transfers. This means the City Ground club are unlikely to build on their mid-table Championship mediocrity from this term for next season, and there will soon be no senior goalkeeper under contract on Trentside for example.
Seeing this financial punishment unfold, 25-year-old Antonio may be given an escape route from Forest by Pulis, with West Brom prepared to pay £5m to secure his services. A former Reading prospect, the player went on to star for Sheffield Wednesday before being snapped up by the Reds last summer.
With leading marksman Britt Assombalonga sustaining a serious knee injury that ended his campaign early, 14-goal Antonio, who made as many assists, was the logical choice in the vote for Forest’s individual award. His exploits in attack came during a season which saw club legend Stuart Pearce appointed and sacked, and duly replaced by another former Reds player Dougie Freedman.
Stephane Sessegnon’s long-term future at Albion appears under threat as he has completed 90 minutes just four times since Pulis took charge on January 1st. The Baggies are short on natural width, with age starting to catch up to club captain Chris Brunt.
It remains to be seen if the step up to Premier League football with West Brom appeals to Antonio.