Dimitri Payet has the ability to be mentioned in the same breath as West Ham greats Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire and Paolo Di Canio, according to club chairman David Sullivan.
Sullivan heaped praise on Payet after the France international was rewarded with an improved five-and-a-half-year contract on Thursday, having only moved to Upton Park in the off-season.
Payet has taken the Premier League by storm since arriving from Marseille, scoring six goals and tallying four assists to help West Ham up to sixth in the table.
And Sullivan is adamant the best is yet to come from the 28-year-old.
“In line with our normal policy, we review the contracts of players who are doing exceptionally well for the Club and reward and extend them when the opportunity arises,” Sullivan said via the club’s official website.
“Up to now, Dimitri has been our star player this season and to reward him and to show the supporters our unwavering commitment to building a team we can all be immensely proud of, the Board has awarded him an improved and extended contract until 2021.
“I have been so excited by watching ‘Dimi’, as he is now affectionately known to all of us Hammers, this season.
“His technical ability, his ball skills, his strength, his goals, his assists and his attitude have all combined to give us one of the most exhilarating players I have seen in a West Ham shirt in many, many years.
“I have been watching West Ham since the early 1960s and have seen some fantastic footballers in Claret and Blue – Trevor Brooking, Alan Devonshire, Paolo Di Canio, Carlos Tevez among them – and Dimi has the talent to be considered among the very best.
“Of course, even more exciting is that Dimi’s best in a West Ham shirt is still to come. Just imagine what we can achieve, with him in the team and the Club moving into a fantastic new 54,000-capacity Stadium in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this summer.”
Sullivan added: “Before then, we have 13 Barclays Premier League games to play and are in a good position, sixth in the table and with a chance of qualifying for Europe.
“[Payet’s new deal] means Mark Noble, Winston Reid, Diafra Sakho, Aaron Cresswell, James Tomkins, Adrian, James Collins and now Dimi have all signed new long-term contracts in the past year – all confirmation that we want to keep our best players here for as long as possible.
“In line with our policy, a few other key players might be similarly rewarded in the next six months, so keep an eye on whufc.com and our social media channels for the big announcements!”
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