Could Arsenal Be Set To Swoop for Payet?

Recent reports suggest that Dimitri Payet may be available at a cut price should West Ham United be relegated at the end of the season. The Euro 2016 finalist has been a much sought-after player after his breakthrough season in the Premier League, but in February penned a new 5-year deal with the Irons. With Slaven Bilic’s side in complete disarray and heading towards the dreaded mire of Championship football, Payet may well be assessing his options: while elite clubs currently circle like vultures.

According to the Times, Payet will be able to leave the Olympic Stadium for a mere £15million if the London side fail to avoid the drop this season. With a third of the campaign already played, the Hammers’ dire form has yet to recover as Bilic looks like a manager bereft of ideas. Payet has appeared half the player he was last season when he scored or assisted 22 goals in the League. Even so, Arsenal and Manchester United are two clubs that have shown interest in the attacking playmaker.

Research by voucher website Voucherbox has found that since West Ham moved to the Olympic Stadium the club offers the cheapest home tickets in the Premier League at £15.47. On the other hand, Arsenal sell single tickets at £53.37 per match, highlighting a gap in class between the two sides and what a step up it would be for Payet if he made the move.

Payet made a name for himself at Marseille but it was at West Ham that he really got a chance to shine. As a result of his outstanding campaign in England’s top flight last term, Didier Deschamps selected him for Euro 2016. The 29-year-old was a pivotal cog in France’s push to the final, and he put in two Man of the Match performances (see video below).

West Ham’s move to the Olympic Stadium was supposed to signify the start of a club on the rise. Bilic had led them to a seventh-place finish in 2015-16 and there was a sense of belief that anything was possible. This is why Payet decided to pledge his allegiance to the club with the new deal. He may now be regretting that choice.

The Sun believes that Arsene Wenger may try and move in for Payet in January in an effort to make the Gunners an unstoppable force on the way to the title. If Arsenal come in with a big enough offer for the playmaker, West Ham may be tempted to sell. The worry for them is that they get relegated and then will have to let him go for a price that does not reflect his supreme quality. And make no mistake, a player of Payet’s prestige will not be playing in the Championship next season.

On the other hand, Payet is also vital to West Ham’s chances of staying up. Some reports are suggesting that the club may try and broker a new deal with the player with the £15million relegation clause erased.

Should Arsenal make a move for Payet before the likes of United get there first? There is no doubt that he would be a deadly addition to an already potent Gunners attack, but will Wenger be willing to splash the cash when he already believes that the squad is strong enough to go the distance? Either way, January could prove to be an exciting month to be an Arsenal fans.

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