Dimitri Payet came to the premier league with a reputation for assists and mesmeric skill when he joined West Ham from Marseille in the summer transfer window of 2015. In his final season with Marseille, Payet made more successful through-balls than any other player, with the exception of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, in European football’s top five leagues, in making 17 assists in 36 league appearances. He carried that form into the premiership with an assist on his league debut in West hams season opening game against Arsenal. He scored his first goal in a loss against Leicester just six days later, announcing his arrival to the Premier League.
It’s no wonder that when Payet got injured by a sickening tackle from Everton’s James McCarthy, the club seemed to dip in form and it showed in their results during the seven games he missed. While he was injured The Hammers won just once, drew five and lost the other. With Payet in the side, they average 1.9 goals per game and have a 50 percent win rate while without, it drops to 0.7 and a win percentage of 14.3. Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager has heaped praise on his attacking star saying,
“I have to get poetry lessons to describe his importance to us, I haven’t seen better players than that. He is also doing the dirty work and on the ball he is up there with Luka Modric from the players I have trained so far”.
Quite the complement and well deserved.
West ham sit seventh on the log with 40 points and could well be in with a shout for fourth place in the champions league. If they are to achieve such lofty heights, they will want to keep their talisman fit and delivering performances such as what we saw in his latest display in their F.A Cup drubbing of Blackburn on Sunday where he scored a brace. The brains trust no doubt recognizes his importance and has rewarded him with a new contract which keeps him there until the summer of 2021. With the dynamics of modern day football however, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be bids made for Payet in the summer window.