Michail Antonio has ended speculation over his future by signing a new two-year contract with West Ham United. The 27-year-old will stay at the London Stadium until 2021 after rebuffing reported interest from Chelsea and Manchester United.
In April, reports suggested that the ex-Nottingham Forest midfielder had turned down the offer of a new deal and that discussions over an extension were at a standstill. Manager Slaven Bilic was unmoved by the development but concerns were rife that the Hammers' player of the year was ready to move on.
The Express reported earlier in the season that scouts from Chelsea, Everton and United had been to watch Antonio this season, with a view to signing the player in the summer. But with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2019, Antonio has quashed all suggestions he could leave the club by penning a 24-month extension.
"I'm over the moon, I've loved my time here and I'm just happy that we have managed to get things sorted so I can move onto next season and do what I've done this season," he told the West Ham official website. "I'm delighted to have signed a new four-year deal. I'd like to thank the chairman [David Sullivan] because we had a nice little deal for this to get sorted. He's a lovely man and thanks very much!"
"When I was younger, I was growing up in south London and I used to come to West Ham games. I've loved my time here. Last season I managed to finish as runner-up in the Hammer of the year award and this year I've won it, so it's a case of pushing on and I don't want to drop my standards next season.
"This year has been a better year than last year because I've played from start to finish and I managed to get the England call-up I've been dreaming of since I was a child. Hopefully I can keep pushing on and doing even better, because I always want to do better than I have done previously."
Antonio's versatility, which has seen him play in nine different positions for West Ham this season, has been among the reasons for Chelsea and United showing an interest. A haul of nine goals and five assists has also attracted recognition at international level, with first Sam Allardyce and then Gareth Southgate naming him in recent England squads –though he is still awaiting his debut.
Though Chelsea and United will now not go head-to-head to sign Antonio, they could be set to duel for a number of players in the summer transfer window. Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata is expected to be among them, with the Spain international braced to leave the Bernabeu.