Arsenal boss confirms previous interest in Payet ahead of West Ham clash

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that he has been keeping tabs on West Ham United star Dimitri Payet for quite some time ahead of their clash this weekend, according to reports from the Daily Mail.

Payet joined the Hammers via a £10.7million transfer last summer, with the Frenchman’s move considered as one of the season’s best signings after a brilliant debut campaign.

The former Marseille ace has helped Slaven’s Bilic’s men into touching distance of a Champions League spot, just three points off Manchester City in fourth.

And Gunners boss Wenger has claimed that he has been scouting Payet for quite some time when he was still playing for St. Etienne, but he opted against making a move due to the high number of attacking midfielders already at his disposal.

“Many times,” Wenger said. “I have known him for a long, long time. When he played at St Etienne he played there for a few years and we watched him many times. He has all the attributes to be a top, top player and is that in fact.

“He is 29-years-old already, but this season he has matured a lot as he has come back into the national team when he looked to be out. That shows he has been much more consistent.

“He has always had top talent, even when in periods he has been a bit up and down. But he has been very consistent.

“We had this kind of player and we had no need [for more].

“Historically we always had a great number of creative players — we had Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey — they are all offensive players and I’ve certainly forgotten a few, so we had the numbers.”

Arsenal will hope that they get a positive result at the Boleyn Ground this weekend, as only a win will give them some hope of catching league leaders Leicester City at the top of the table.