Dimitri Payet showed the world what he was capable off during the European Championships this summer.
But to West Ham fans it was very much business as usual. To the Frenchman’s teammates, it was what they see the player do week in and week out during training.
To the watching world, this midfield dynamo personified what is good about individualism of the highest order. His free kicks are sublime, his finishing lethal and his creativeness beyond comprehension, as he twists and turns and delivers the highest standard of play for both club and country.
Now that the rest of the world have woken up to the phenomenon that is Dimitri Payet, West Ham will do well to keep the 29-year-old at the club – thoughf you believe reports lately, then Payet is 100% happy at the Hammers.
Payet, 29, speaking exclusively to Sun Sport on his way back to the UK after playing in the hosts’ 1-0 final defeat against Portugal in Paris, says he is definitely staying.
He said: “I’ve heard about all the interest and I’m flattered. But I love West Ham. We had a fantastic season and I can’t wait to play in the Olympic Stadium. I’m 100 per cent staying at West Ham, I love the club. I can tell the Hammers fans that.”
In sharp contrast, Payet’s agent, Jacques-Olivier Auguste, angrily dismissed the reports, insisting Payet had never spoken to the newspaper.
“I have no idea where this [interview] came from but in any case he never said that,” Auguste told L’Equipe 21.
“With West Ham it is quite simple, if a club is interested they will call the club, and then, we will see. Now Dimitri is certainly feeling good at West Ham, but to say that he will 100 per cent stay is difficult.”
Whether he said anything to the press or not, Inter Milan and Real Madrid are two clubs abroad that have realised Payet’s abilities and it won’t end there. West Ham fans are now praying that come the end of the transfer window, Payet is still a Hammer.
So here are five reasons why he might not stay though…
Lots can change in just 12 months. Payet has hurtled through the last year at a sensational speed becoming a Premier League star and playmaker at the Euro’s.
He has tasted Europe with West Ham, albeit briefly, and has finished within the top ten of the Premier League. To cap it all, Payet went on to play a huge part for France at the Euro’s, including scoring three goals and providing two assists.
The fear could be that Payet has had a taste of life at the top table and will ultimately want more – more than West Ham can give him right now.
The Hammers are ambitious, but the big time is a couple of seasons away yet.
It is every professional footballer’s dream to play for the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, etc.
If those clubs come calling, it can be difficult not to have your head turned. The grass is not always greener elsewhere, but human nature is to try it. Payet will be unique if he can shut out his mind to the spoils that the big European clubs can offer.
Trophies, titles, money, bigger and better competitions, plus the chance to put your skills up against some of the best outside of the Premier League will be a draw, but is that what Payet wants outside of his West Ham comfort zone?
Every player wants to play and challenge themselves at the highest level.
The Champions League is the pinnacle of the European club game and teams like Real and Barca qualify without fail year in, year out. They don’t just qualify either, but compete for the trophy.
These teams don’t exit early on, but stay the distance to the semi’s and the finals. What player of any worth wouldn’t want that?
Although Payet doesn’t seem too concerned about the money side, it will become a consideration when someone doubles his current salary with one signature.
Although the player only signed a new contract four months ago and is currently the highest earner at West Ham, these days, it means very little.
The French international has said that he is quite happy at West Ham and Hammers fans hope that is true, but any one of us, in whatever industry we are in, would also think twice if another company offered you more money.
There is speculation that Payet is extremely happy at The Hammers. His family are settled in London, the fans adore him, the manager wants to write poetry about him and he has carved, inside twelve months, a cult status up there with Di Canio at West Ham.
He is in a claret and blue comfort blanket and should hopefully remember that the club have put him where he is. However, in reality, West Ham are at least two seasons away from their lofty ambitions of consistent top four finishes and a stab at the Champions League plus domestic silverware.
At almost 30, the clock is ticking for Payet and he will need to consider the ambitions and timeframes for both himself and the club. Will he wait or will he consider his future is best served elsewhere?