Filed: Saturday, 13th February 2016
By: Matt Bell
So Dimitri Payet has been rewarded with a bumper contract extension only seven months after joining from Marseille.
Now I am in love with Payet as much as the next fan. His skills have illuminated a team that has been built on a solid defence and midfield. But - at nearly 29, a contract at a reported £125k-per-week (taking him to the age of 34) is a huge investment for the club.
Payet has increased our media profile and though that won't change the opinions of the "neutral" TV pundits, most of whom played for Liverpool, he will increase the club's recognition worldwide. Given the move into a huge, new stadium, that will help.
In days of old we would have worried over such a costly contract but this decision has been made by two self-made multi-millionaires in conjunction with the business acumen of Karren Brady, so we can trust that the return of investment has been carefully considered.
Regarding Payet the player and his good season (so far), it seems too easy, lazy even, to link him with Man City and Chelsea. The staggering fees paid by Chinese clubs was only a slight concern given the huge profit to be made if that was in fact true. Disappointing as that would have been, we are not a one man team and if a club could treble their money on a player at that age I would have understood.
Some fans and pundits may express surprise at the contract size and length and some have even questioned Payet's ambition. Others immediately assume he would have had his head turned by reported interest from the 'big' Premier League clubs.
They fail to take into account this is a 28-year-old player who was given the opportunity to play in the BPL after producing consistently high stats for assists and chances created while at Marseille. Given his subsequent, success has been rewarded with a bumper contract.
It cannot be underestimated that the wage, a move to London and the romanticism of the farewell season at the Boleyn and subsequent move into the Olympic Stadium is hugely attractive to a player who must have felt his big chance had passed while plying his trade in France, where he was labelled a luxury by the French national manager.
Add the fact that he has his name sung by the West Ham faithful and you can tell he feels that emotional bond.
You might question why he would have considered leaving to perhaps sit on a bench elsewhere or face the annual change of management. There is no price for happiness, although £125k a week would certainly help.
Jamie Vardy has expressed similar views while signing an extension at Leicester. A career in football is a relatively short one and at an older age do players really want the drag of moving house and risking the bench, when they can shine at their current clubs and feel the adoration of the fans ? (Manchester City's Richard Wright is the obvious exception to that, of course.)
On the pitch we now have a player that gives us confidence when we face the League's elite clubs - and a player who really does have magic in his boots. Not since Paolo Di Canio have we had a player whose possesses the necessary sublime skill and confidence to change draws into wins. (NB I don't forget Carlos Tevez, I'll never forget Tevez - he's just a different kind of player to Payet and Di Canio.)
Next on the agenda is to sign the wonderful Manuel Lanzini on a permanent contract.
Our board cannot be doubted for their commitment to make West Ham one of the biggest clubs in the Premier League. That comment may draw sneers, but that will change when teams visit a 55,000-capacity Olympic Stadium and start to realise what is happening to WHUFC.
I think back to the summer when Bilic was announced as manager and all the doubters said "be careful what you wish for". Now Harry Redknapp suggests West Ham should sign John Terry in the summer! Thankfully, the days of the Boleyn being a retirement home for ageing names is over.
At the other end of the scale there's reported interest in Reece Oxford from Arsenal and Manchester City. That can probably be dismissed given he could have signed for anyone last year but chose to continue his development at West Ham. And it's not like he has been held back.
We are not immune to bids for our players but paying Payet £125k a week demonstrates that West Ham are growing. We don't have to sweat any more that after a few good games we are suddenly at risk of losing our best players.
I'm happy at the moment, we have come through a period of injuries to our attackers and are still in the mix with Diafra Sakho and Lanzini soon to return. The fact that most of our defenders are injured (at right back, anyway) makes signing Sam Byram in January a sound move.
Meanwhile Angelo Ogbonna is my favourite defender so him and Ginger Pele (aka James Collins) playing together in central defence doesn't disrupt the team as much as losing key players may have done in the past.
That said, I write this on a Friday and given my age and memory, I am actually fearful of getting beaten at Norwich! it's going to take more wins from West Ham to shed such apprehension. COYI and let's steam-roll the Canaries away.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
12:14PM 28th Jul 2009
''Nice to read a bit of positivity instead of all the doom and gloom merchants, well done!
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