West Ham have been linked with a move for Dimitri Payet, but Manchester United’s summer business could clear the way for the Hammers to make a much smarter swoop.
According to The Guardian, West Ham have been offered the chance to sign Payet this summer.
Marseille want to recoup at least the £25m they paid to take him from East London last summer, the player’s representatives have been in contact with the Hammers, and the player himself is said to be “keen” on a return to the London Stadium.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s play style would not be the right fit for Payet. Pellegrini wants a free flowing side with a lot of variance in its play. He wants hard working players who thrive in quick passing situations, creating space for each other with one-twos and smart link-up play.
Payet is a fantastic talent, but he relies on seeing loads of the ball and at times last season he looked much more like an isolated individual than a part of a team. This is the last thing Pellegrini needs, which is why he should switch his attentions to Manchester United’s Juan Mata.
The 41-cap Spaniard is a year younger than Payet, and the arrivals of Fred in midfield and Alexis Sanchez in attack will see him earn less and less playing time at Old Trafford. He has just 12 months left on his contract, so would likely cost less than the £25m Marseille want for Payet.
Fans will obviously be attracted to the nostalgia of bringing Payet back, but Mata could be the perfect short-term fix to replace the injured Manuel Lanzini. Valued at £27m by Transfermarkt, the 30 year-old is a great presence in the changing room and would add a winning mentality within the squad.
The little magician is wonderfully calm and composed on the ball, and signing him to work just in front of the heavily linked Jack Wilshere would bring a whole new level of vision and technique that the Hammers haven’t had for quite some time.
Like Payet, the Spanish international can play anywhere across the attack, and his work rate has improved drastically under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford. He doesn’t have the one-on-one dynamism that Payet possesses, but his link-up play and quick thinking should be the perfect fit for Pellegrini.
Mata hardly ever loses the ball, something that can’t be said for the electric Payet, and would be hungrier than ever to prove to the rest of the Premier League he still has what it takes.
So, West Ham fans, would you like to see a swoop for Mata? Or is Payet too good to turn down? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…