West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has revealed that the Hammers hope that French international playmaker Dimitri Payet stays with the club this summer, but that has accepted that ‘giant clubs’ may now be interested in signing the attacking midfielder.
The 29-year-old has impressed at Euro 2016, scoring three goals and also producing two assists in his five appearances for Les Bleus on home soil. His displays have just carried on from the fine form that he produced in his debut campaign with the Hammers.
Payet will play for France in Thursday night’s Euro 2016 semi-final against Germany, as Les Bleus look to overcome the world champions to book their place in Sunday’s final.
Hoping he stays with West Ham
Bilic has been effusive in his praise for Payet in France and wrote in his column for the Daily Mail: “As a club manager, when you have a player involved there is added interest and there is no doubt Dimitri Payet has been one of the stars of the tournament,”
“I understand that with his success, all the speculation about his future will follow. I have even seen one report suggesting I don’t want him to do well in case it leads to him leaving West Ham.
“That is not right. I want him to play great. I want him to score a hat-trick and another hat-trick in the final. I know then that the giant clubs will come but I would love him to stay at West Ham. We have texted each other over the last three weeks and he is happy at the club. He is our player.”
Some publications have claimed that Bilic has stated that Payet is not for sale, but reading between the lines of Bilic’s is unsure if the star will stay loyal to the Hammers.
Vultures are circling West Ham
Dimitri Payet was one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League last season, scoring 13 times and producing 12 assists in all competitions. His performance will have come as little surprise to anybody who had watched him on regular basis playing for Marseille in Ligue One.
Very much considered a maverick and not a team player by the French national team hierarchy he struggled to make his mark on the national team before his fine recent performances. His good domestic campaign and impressive appearances at the Euros are finally earning Payet the credit he deserves.
At 29-years-old the attacking midfielder is being linked with moves to the likes Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSG in his homeland. Payet would do well to consider the fact that the Hammers are highly-ambitious and took a chance on him when most a lot of English top-flight clubs dismissed signing him because of his age.
Some of those said clubs are probably kicking themselves right now, because Payet is now regarded as a top player.
Bilic seems to be signing replacements
West Ham finished seventh in the Premier League table last season and are odds of 9/4 to achieve a top-six finish in the English top-flight this season.
It seems like Bilic has already been bringing in attacking midfield reinforcements. The Hammers have already brought in highly-rated Algerian playmaker Sofiane Feghouli on a free transfer from Spanish side Valencia.
Bilic’s side are also believed to be close to sealing a season-long loan deal for Turkish international winger Gokhan Tore from Besiktas. Tore was at Chelsea earlier in his career and spent two years under Bilic at Besiktas.
Bilic may have trouble fitting Payet, Manuel Lanzini, Sofiane Feghouli and Gokhan Tore all into one team. It could be that the Croatian wants greater strength in-depth in his squad or it could be that he is covering all bases with his signings.
All four of those players are going to expect first team football, although Lanzini will miss the start of the campaign as he is in the Argentinian squad for the Olympics. In the long-term though, somebody will be left unhappy by not being selected.
Slaven Bilic knows that if a more high-profile club comes in with a mega-money offer for Payet that the Hammers are likely to sell. Any such offer would also likely to tempt Payet, whose profile has suddenly risen dramatically.
Suddenly he is hot property and at 29-years-old he is unlikely to ever be in a better position to further his career.
Hopefully for West Ham, Payet is happy at the club and will reject the overtures of the big money moves and help the Hammers progress in the future, if not then no doubt the club from the east end will pocket a nice profit then attempt to fill the massive gap left by the French international.
Will Dimitri Payet be at West Ham next season?