France’s Dimitri Payet has been one of the stars of the group stage at Euro 2016 and if he continues in that vein throughout the tournament, West Ham might find themselves in a battle to hold on to the player come the end of it.
Payet was one of the undisputed best players in the Premier League season just gone, netting 9 goals and creating a further 12 as West Ham enjoyed an excellent final season at Upton Park.
Given the fee involved in his transfer from Marseille was a mere £10.7 million, his capture represented a real bargain and many clubs in both England and on the continent must now be regretting not making a move for him.
Arsene Wenger recently admitted that Payet’s inconsistency was the main reason why he didn’t move for the 29 year old, who has blossomed into an exceptional performer at the highest level as he approaches the latter years of his career.
PSG would have known better than anyone what he was capable of on his day but opted against a move while the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid, who are both now rumoured to be interested in the player, had other targets at the time.
West Ham’s gain
Their loss was most certainly West Ham’s gain and in 12 months he has brought everything that was so often lacking during Sam Allardyce’s reign in East London.
Payet is an exciting player that gets you off the edge of your seat with genuine flare and an almost ridiculous ability when it comes to striking a football.
His late winner for France in the opening game of Euro 2016 was perhaps the moment the French public truly began to appreciate Payet, who has frequently been overlooked by the national team since his debut in 2010 but at West Ham, there has been no doubt since the day Payet rocked up in England 12 months ago, that they had a special player on their hands.
Chelsea are said to be the club leading the chase for Payet but given the season they’ve just had, West Ham shouldn’t have too much trouble batting off interest from the West London club.
If the Hammers can add a bit more quality this summer, particularly a striker capable of converting the chances Payet creates on a consistent basis, then Slaven Bilic’s men could have a very good season in their first at their new home.
Departure would be a sideways move
Being generous to Chelsea, Payet moving across the capital would be no more than a sideways move right now and he would have to forego European football for a season, something which he may be reluctant to do at 29 and the peak of his powers.
Real Madrid are the other party to be linked with a post Euro 2016 move for Payet and they do have a habit of snapping up the stars of major championships even if they don’t necessarily fit into the side.
Los Blancos would be harder for West Ham or the player to turn down but given they have Cristiano Ronaldo and Bale currently occupying their wide roles, it’s hard to see how even Payet would get into that team.
Payet is idolised at West Ham and as long as the club are ambitious enough in the transfer market this summer, he should stay put and if he performs as well as he did last year, then there is no reason why the Londoners can’t compete seriously at the top end of the division again.
Written by Mark Sochon
Follow Mark on Twitter @tikitakagol
Check out his brilliant blog on all things La Liga, Tiki-Taka-Gol!
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