How big a blow would losing Dimitri Payet be to West Ham United?
In Slaven Bilic’s pre-match press conference for West Ham’s game against Crystal Palace at the weekend, the Croatian manager said that Dimitri Payet “did not want to play for the club”.
Bilic revealed that the Frenchman, who was the Player of the Tournament at the European Championships last summer, is refusing to play for West Ham, and he will not be involved this weekend.
"We have said we don't want to sell our best players but Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us. We are not going to sell him," Bilic said.
"I spoke to the Chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay."
It is understood he has refused to play after the club rejected a £20million offer from Marseilles.
Without Payet, who is arguably the Hammers’ best player, they are a much weaker side. The statistics back that up.
Since signing for West Ham 18 months ago, Payet has been influential in helping the Hammers almost get into the Europa League group stage in the two seasons he has been at the club. However, West Ham would lose to Astra Giurgiu in the qualification stages of the competition at both attempts.
The Premier League is where the Frenchman has done the business for the Irons, by contributing to 30 goals for the team (11 goals, 19 assists) in his 47 league appearances.
With him on the field, West Ham average just under 1.64 goals a game, leading to an average of 1.5 points gained from every match.
Without the midfield maestro, the Hammers average less than a goal a game, and only gain an average of 1.17 points.
Bilic told the media that despite Payet refusing to play, the club will not sell him. Payet has a contract until the summer of 2021, in which he earns £125,000-a-week.
West Ham may need to prepare for an influx of bids, as there is no release clause in his contract.
Dimitri Payet has been valued at £25m+ but West Ham will be looking for even more than that to be tempted to sell their French magician. If they are without him for the foreseeable, will they struggle to stay in the Premier League?
Points per game:
With Payet: 1.49
Without Payet: 1.17
Goals per game:
With Payet: 1.64
Without Payet: 0.92
Marseille on the fringes
Marseille is still his most likely destination at 5/2, were he to leave in this window.
Chelsea and PSG remain interested parties at 10/1 and Man United could also join the race for his signature at 14/1. One thing is for sure though, West Ham have a battle on their hands if they want to hold onto one of the most coveted players in Europe.