He’s Dimitri Payet and he’s West Ham… it would be foolish for him to consider leaving, or for the board to sell him.
In an astonishing first season in the Premier League, the West Ham dynamo has wowed supporters across the country with his running, his skills, his goals and of course his trade mark free-kicks.
Many players coming in from abroad stutter and struggle to find their way in their first season in what is arguably one of the toughest leagues to adapt to in Europe.
But, the Frenchman has been outstanding, his manager wants to write poetry about him and the France national boss couldn’t ignore him any longer adding him to his provisional EURO 2016 squad.
Payet ended the season as West Ham’s top scorer this season with 12 in all competitions and was the club’s joint league top scorer with Andy Carroll on nine, registering 12 assists. All of this came for just under £11m after a move from Marseille last summer, and that equates to a brilliant bit of business by all concerned down in east London.
There are many reasons why Payet should stay with the Hammers despite the noted interest from abroad, and here are just FIVE to whet the course of debate.
West Ham are ambitious, of that there is little room for doubt. They have quietly and without any kind of fanfare left their famous old ground for the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium. You may have heard about it. The Hammers are looking to recruit top level players this summer, to bolster a squad with European ambition and a proper challenge in the Premier League. The West Ham team is a completely proposition when Payet is missing and he is now very securely the main man. This is his chance to be a part of something much bigger. Would he want to miss this opportunity?
West Ham are now a club with an injection of flair, attitude and spirit. Payet has been remarkable and the focal point for the team’s attacks. He is sheer quality and the club saw that after only six months. His initial contract was quickly replaced with a new five-year, £125,000 a week deal that made him the highest paid player at Upton Park. Following the club’s announcement, Payet declared his desire to remain at West Ham for the foreseeable future. “I say and I repeat I’m proud to wear the shirt of West Ham. My future is here and I hope for many years,” he said via his official Twitter account.
The West Ham faithful adore him and have a new hero to worship. Up there amongst the Bobby Moores and Paolo Di Canios, Payet is set to become another famous son of the club. With such adoration, Payet feels elevated, loved and treasured and that’s just what the modern day player wants. Plus a big wage of course – that helps.
Los Blancos are suggesting that their interest in the Frenchman is real. The powers that be in the corridors of the Bernabeu want Payet, but they should beware. Isco and Rodriguez were bought for vast sums and have not come anywhere close to being the players they were supposed to be. Why? Maybe the whole Real Madrid experience is too daunting for some and they cannot cope with the pressures of a world famous club.
Could Payet be any different? The obvious negative for Dimi is that he will go from being the main player to being merely, a player. Ronaldo rules the roost and when it comes to free kicks – Payet will have to step aside if Ronaldo decides. Real Madrid have taken a Frenchman from West Ham before when they loaned out Faubert. And look how that turned out. Payet simply wouldn’t be as dynamic a player in Madrid as he is in east London. At Real Madrid, a club with which your commercial value so often dictates your importance to the team, it would be such a different story.
If the player is honest about life at West Ham, it is pretty damn good. It doesn’t get much better in a team starting to grow and grow quickly. The club has shown its desire and its intentions, and Payet will want to be a part of the club’s future as it grows into a team that is capable of challenging for the major honours. It’s somewhere where he feels comfortable and it’s with a club that has given him back the international stage once more. In Slaven Bilic, he has a manager that crafts his team around him and believes in him, and he may not find that belief anywhere else.