Arsene Wenger raised a few eyebrows when he admitted that Arsenal had eyed up Dimitri Payet several times before the creative midfielder moved to West Ham.
Payet’s inconsistency was the 66-year-old’s reasoning for passing on his compatriot, having monitored him since his time at Marseille.
Gunners fans were most likely aggrieved to hear this as the West Ham man has scored nine goals and provided eight assists in 23 Premier League outings this term, with this being a huge reason behind the east Londoners sitting only three points off fourth.
However, when you examine the 29-year-old’s season, it becomes clear that Wenger’s misgivings have merit.
Payet began the campaign in blistering form, finding the net five times in his first nine top-flight games, but then only scored once in the next ten matches.
Furthermore, during a four-game scoreless run for the Frenchman between the middle of January and the start of February, the Hammers took a dip in form.
During this spell, Slaven Bilic’s men only won once and this was at home against Aston Villa.
The Villans have lost 12 of their 16 league outings on the road so getting three points against them was hardly a huge accomplishment.
Payet’s inconsistency has clearly had a negative effect on his team when he doesn’t perform and, while this is something he can get away with at West Ham, it would be more evident at Arsenal.
For example, Olivier Giroud has found himself in trouble after failing to keep up his goalscoring exploits from earlier in the season.
The French forward scored 18 times in his first 29 matches across all competitions, but has struggled in 2016.
Giroud’s only goals since January 13th both came in a 4-0 win over Championship Hull City in the FA Cup.
The Gunners won just two Premier League games that the 29-year-old started in that run and as a result the victory over the Tigers was the last game he started for the north Londoners.
Clearly, failing to deliver consistently is less forgiving when at a team chasing for the title and Payet would have found himself in these circumstances if he moved to the Emirates.