Dimitri Payet’s ‘long-term adviser’ Jacques-Olivier Auguste has revealed it is unlikely his client will leave West Ham this summer despite interest from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.
“He has a great contract with West Ham so I cannot see him leaving. Dimitri is happy in London,” Auguste told the Guardian.
Yet, despite Payet signing a deal with the Irons worth an estimated £125,000 a week as recently as February, it would be hard to begrudge him the chance to play at a higher level if it is forthcoming.
True West Ham will regard themselves as one of many teams tilting for a top-four finish next season (for which they can be backed at 8/1) after falling only just short in 2014/15.
However, at the age of 29, the Frenchman won’t have too many more seasons at the height of his game and the urge to make up for lost time in the Champions League would surely be hard to ignore.
After three successive campaigns with first Lille, then Marseille between 2011/12 and 2013/14 he has now been starved of elite-level continental action for two campaigns with a third in the offing should he remain in east London.
Currently 4/1 to be UEFA’s player of the tournament for Euro 2016, with the chance to inspire France to glory on home soil, his potential to garner a move to one of Europe’s leading clubs will never be greater.
He might not prove to be an automatic pick for Real, Barca or PSG, as World Cup 2014 top scorer James Rodriguez found out.
But, such status is surely worth trading to experience the Champions League from the perspective of a team with serious aspirations of winning the trophy.
The need to guild his career with silverware must be especially pressing for a man whose personal trophy cabinet boasts just two medals, for successive cup wins on his native island of Reunion in 2004 and 2005.
All associated with West Ham would surely go into mourning should he depart, but both sides would move forward knowing that Payet’s sale would represent a substantial profit for a club proving increasingly astute at sourcing talent.