Lane Dias examines the impact Dimitri Payet has made at West Ham, and gets the views of local supporters.
Leicester City will make the majority of the headlines this season in the Barclays Premier League, , but down at the Boleyn Ground, there is another cunning fox, who has set the Premier League alight. The Irons’ French talisman Dimitri Payet has been terrific to watch, and according to his supporters, it is his impressive form that has led to the Hammers’ impressive display this season.
Amy Ironmonger, a student at the University of East London close to Upton Park, believes that the Frenchman has been crucial to the side’s run in the league. “He’s a really good player, he’s made the team gel more together. From the games you can see that when he’s not there, the team’s not working as well – but as soon as he is there, we’ll win. In the last game (against Everton), we were 2-0 down and then in the last ten minutes we managed to pull the game back. ” She said. “He’s probably worth more [than £10.7m]. It was a big bargain, especially where we’re in the league at the moment.”
Ross Kennett, also a student from the University of East London, believes that the money invested in Payet wasn’t just a bargain. “He’s a great signing, £10 million for a 28 year old – it’s a very good signing,” he said. “He’s made a massive contribution this season. Yeah, he’s doing well but hopefully he keeps it up.”
Kennett also suggested that Payet’s arrival could potentially attract some of Europe’s elite players. “Definitely looking forward to it [Payet signing a new five year contract], hopefully he’ll attract new players,” he said. Furthermore, the Daily Mail reported that West Ham had recently made an enquiry for PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, reiterating the new-found ambition at the club.
As a result of Payet signing a new deal until 2021, Kennett was optimistic regarding the future. “It depends on who we sign in the summer really, we could get Europe – it’s definitely a possibility.
Since Payet’s £10.7 million arrival from Marseille in June, the French international has been instrumental in helping his side’s progression into fifth. The statistics are evident, in fact, of the 22 Premier League games he’s played in, his side have won 12 of them; losing five, with Payet scoring eight goals in the process.
Some of them were very crucial including a brace against Newcastle in September. He scored the equaliser against Sunderland in early October, a stunning freekick against Bournemouth two games after returning from injury and the late winner against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
In a game against Everton in November, Payet suffered an ankle injury that resulted in the Frenchman missing seven league games and in his absence, his side only managed to win once – demonstrating how reliant the East-London outfit are on the former Marseille midfielder.
When he has played, his side have beaten the so-called ‘big-sides.’ The Frenchman helped beat Arsenal and Manchester City away, as well as defeating reigning champions Chelsea at home. He also helped the Hammers do the double against Liverpool.
The Hammers’ currently sit fifth in the Premier League table with just nine games to go, and the fans believe their current league position is no coincidence, much to the credit of the impressive Payet.
From the club’s supporters it is clear that the Frenchman is already becoming one of the fans’ favourites at Upton Park in his first season. However it is not just his own fans that admire the French midfielder, the former Marseille midfielder was named the London Premier League Player of the Year recently. For Hammers fans, this accolade will hopefully be one of many pieces of silverware the Frenchman will hope to achieve.