Monday, January 30
Farewell Dimitri Payet: a diminished genius
The inevitable has happened and Dimiri Payet has been sold to Marseille for £25 million. The player has got his way, but David Sullivan and David Gold called it right in their press statement: "The club would like to place on record its sincere disappointment that Dimitri Payet did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him."
Payet was probably the most skilful player I've ever seen at West Ham. There were plenty of moments to treasure last season; those free kicks against Bournemouth, Man United and Crystal Palace; running the length of the field to score against Blackburn; that dinked third goal at Palace; his brace against Newcastle; a late winner at Everton and the crosses that set up the epic final win at the Boleyn against Man United. What a shame that his quality as a man couldn't match his quality on the field. We sang your name and you repaid us by going on strike. It's a healthy profit on a player who is soon to be 30, but if ever there was a wrong way to leave a club, this was it.
There were a couple of great moments this season, such as his solo goal against Middlesbrough and free kick at Anfield. But after starring in the Euros it was soon obvious he was distracted back at West Ham and only playing at eighty per cent. Last season he had scored five by November, before he was crocked against Everton. This season he has scored only two league goals despite playing until January. He could still take a great set-piece, but sometimes he wasn't tracking back or pushing himself enough. Yes, he might have had family problems and the club didn't sign a quality striker, but that's no excuse for not putting in a shift and then refusing to play, all while on £120k a week. Dimitri and his agent should have been honest enough to make a written transfer request.
Yet ultimately Payet appears to have done the club a service, judging by the last two results without him. Even if you have a genius, if he's not paying at full intensity, it affects the morale of the whole squad. No player is bigger than West Ham United, but I just don't think Dimitri understands.