West Ham’s struggles in the Premier League this season have highlighted just how well French international playmaker Dimitri Payet played last season.
On Monday evening the Hammers went down to a controversial 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United after Algerian star Sofiane Feghouli was dismissed very early in the game.
With the Hammers searching for a goal Hammers boss Slaven Bilic decided to bring on striker Andy Carroll, which was not a surprising move.
However, the identity of the player he replaced was a slight surprise. It was their playmaker and creator-in-chief Dimitri Payet.
Considered to be having a poor campaign
West Ham have struggled for form this season. The Irons depended on Payet heavily last season. The Frenchman scored nine goals and provided 13 assists in his debut campaign at the club, with the Hammers finishing seventh in the table.
Despite creating eight Premier League goals and scoring twice this season, Payet is considered to be having a poor season by the high standards of last season, simply because his team are struggling. The Frenchman was sacrificed by Bilic against United, as he failed to have an impact in the game.
However, it was a move that would simply not have happened last season. If the Hammers were searching for a goal Payet would have been the player the Irons would have been looking to provide inspiration.
Yet, Bilic decided to take the Frenchman off the pitch. He may not have been having a major impact, but I have to say I was surprised by the move.
Speculation over a move away
Recently Payet refused to rule out a move away from West Ham in the near future. Noises from France suggest that Marseille are set to make a big money move to re-sign their former star player this month.
However, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has denied Payet will be leaving. The Croatian told the London Evening Standard: “We don’t want to sell him. He is our top player and like with any other player, especially great ones, there is speculation. He has a long contract and we will do everything we can to ensure he stays with us.
“It is reassuring. West Ham are showing a strong statement that we want to keep our best player but you can’t stop the speculation.
“We all knew it was going to happen which is why it is important that the board said, ‘no, we want to keep him’.
Payet’s statistics show that he is still a key player at West Ham. However, his recent displays will be concerning to everybody connected with the club.
The 29-year-old only signed a new deal in February that expires in 2021, so he is tied to the Hammers for a long time. Despite talk of Payet staying the club must consider any big money big for the playmaker, as he is approaching his 30th birthday.
If Marseille makes a bid of around £30million, as is being speculated in the media, the Hammers would have a difficult decision to make. Payet is approaching the age where players are considered to have very little sell-on value.
West Ham’s form has levelled out this season
West Ham have no doubt underachieved this season. However, in reality, Bilic’s team slightly overachieved last season in finishing seventh in the table. The Hammers should have enough quality to finish in the top ten of the table, which Slaven Bilic’s side are odds of 2/1 to achieve this season.
Payet’s future at West Ham seems very unclear at the moment. The playmaker has not seemed like the player that took the Premier League by storm last season. Maybe his head was turned with talk of a move to a high-profile club in the summer or maybe he is just tired after a frantic 18 months of football.
For me, it seems unlikely that Dimitri Payet will move on in the January transfer window, but next summer at 30-years of age he may well move on to pastures new.
Should West Ham consider selling Dimitri Payet?
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