It may have taken a while for Dimitri Payet to reach what surely must be his prime years of his career, but much like the cliché states; it’s better late than never for the Frenchman. He has become so vital, so important to West Ham that for the fans, he must be compared to the some of the best in the game, because in their eyes he’s quite simply, world class.
A “World class” player can be the difference in the cold night at home to Newcastle, silence an Old Trafford crowd in one swing of the boot, or just collect some beautiful moments for the Vine at Bournemouth. You could watch, make a YouTube video about why he’s better than Özil, and sing about Payet all day. Of course it’s a bold statement to make, but so is a French Island Football coach saying “a kid who stands out from amongst his comrades”. How relevant is this quote now, 20 years on?
By the end of August with Payet, West Ham have won almost half of their games. Without him it is even less than a quarter. Reliant?
Dimitri’s comrades include Lanzini, another silky, skillful player, still with much potential despite not enitrely unlocking it so far. He looks to have found his place at West Ham, but he’s not a game changer, yet to show signs of leadership on the pitch. Then you’ve got striker Andy Carroll. What you see is what you get. Exactly what is says on the tin. He epitomises what the English way of playing is all about. It is not attractive but every now and then, it gets the job done. A very one-dimensional player who is efficient when given the room to do so. However his injury record is a far bigger concern.
And what about Andy fellow Englishman Michail Antonio, in a world where we expect so much from young players, at just 26, Michail is something of a latecomer as well. He has burst on to the England scene much to the annoyance of Football Twitter (Yes that actually exists). His collective pace and strength is a very useful asset to a team like West Ham. A man made of Iron. He’s a threat in the air, as shown this season already with 2 headed goals. Antonio showing that he is now, no joke. Having shown signs of being a game winner, can he not only inspire others in the team but also do it consistently enough to match the club’s aspirations?
Sullivan & Gold relish in ambition, and their model and future they see for the club fits very much into Payet’s vision. A serious injury or a transfer saga will set the club into panic, and suddenly the plans to take on Europe’s elite turns into an in-house Civil war. That’s unless, someone else in the Claret & Blue is worthy of picking up the hammer.