West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has today revealed the ominous truth regarding the current situation of star man Dimitri Payet.
Having joined the Hammers from Ligue 1 side Marseille in the summer of 2015, the technically gifted winger immediately set the Premier League alight, endearing himself to the West Ham faithful with a string of sensational displays.
His trickery was magnificent, his set pieces other-worldly.
Payet even played a key role for home nation France as Les Bleus reached the final of Euro 2016.
However, the current campaign has been a very different story for the one time ‘most creative player in Europe’, with his lacklustre showings aptly personifying the difficult season his club are currently enduring.
In a recent 5-0 home drubbing at the hands of Manchester City in the FA Cup, Payet started the game from the bench, despite the fact that the competition was the Irons’ last real chance of salvaging an otherwise terrible season.
He did make a half-hour cameo, looking a step ahead of his teammates during his time on the pitch, but at 4-0 down, the damage had been done.
One thing that has become clear over the course of the last few months is that Payet has certainly not lost his talent.
He has displayed flashes of individual brilliance, with his set-pieces looking as dangerous as ever despite his trademark free-kicks not finding the back of the net quite as frequently.
The problem for the 29-year-old is purely a mental one.
He has looked disinterested, disheartened, and above all, disappointed.
Disappointed with the showings of a club who were supposed to be challenging for a Champions League place from an exciting new home stadium.
A club who’s year it was to ‘take the next step’. Yet all they have done is taken a huge step back.
When asked about the current mindset of his French superstar, Hammers boss Slaven Bilic was frank in his assessment:
‘We have said we don’t want to sell our best players, but Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us.’
However, he added that ‘we are not going to sell him.’
Bilic also revealed that Payet would not be involved in the West Ham squad for Saturday’s matchup with Crystal Palace at the London Stadium.
The most likely scenario based on current rumblings is that Payet will eventually be sold.
Despite Bilic’s suggestions to the contrary, the French winger will only cause discontent within the London side’s squad if he continues to perform as if his mind is elsewhere.
Arsenal have been linked, with Real Madrid and former club Marseille also rumoured to be interested.
Dimitri Payet is an incredible footballer. There is no denying that.
His set pieces are some of the finest in the world and his ability to create something from nothing is unparalleled.
But a world-class footballer needs the complete package.
He not only needs top of the range ability, but also a top of the range attitude.
The former Lille man’s mindset has been called into question in the past, with many pundits in France claiming it to be the main reason behind the fact that Payet didn’t get a move away from his home country until he was 28.
To put things into perspective, Payet’s teammate at West Ham, Michail Antonio, has enjoyed the finest campaign of his career by a country mile.
The English right winger has scored goals, registered assists and looked a general menace to opposing backlines all-season long.
But this has not been due to his God-given ability, ability which is nowehere near the level of his French international teammate.
It has been due to his fantastic attitude.
He has thundered up and down the right side of the Hammers midfield and put his body on the line for his team on several occasions in scoring crucial headers.
There is no reason that Payet could not have conjured the same attitude and determination in giving his all for a club that has given so much to him.
Taking into account the fact that the West Ham man will be 30 in March, time is ticking for Dimitri Payet to make one final move to a top European outfit.
However, if such a move is to materialise, the first thing that will need to change is his attitude.
Otherwise, he can look forward to seeing out his career in the Chinese Super League…