In an interview with French outlet RMC, Dimitri Payet commented on a number of subjects, including a potential return to Marseille, his desire to once again play in the Champions League, and West Ham’s struggles this season.
Most interesting, however, was the statement that Dimitri Payet mentioned that he had read that Aresnal manager Arsene Wenger considered him to be the “missing piece of the puzzle” at Arsenal. While the Arsenal manager apparently complimented Payet in the press conference ahead of the West Ham v. Arsenal match that Arsenal won 5-1, only Eurosport.fr reported that Wenger must think that Payet would be a missing piece of the puzzle, leaving unanswered questions as to where Payet would have read that Wenger was interested in him playing for Arsenal. Payet has denied any contact from Wenger, only saying that playing for Arsenal would be “fun”.
Time will tell if all of this is more rumors ahead of the transfer window or if Arsenal have been trying to unsettle Payet through the press. Another possibility, of course, is that Wenger has been tapping up Payet, but without proof it is impossible to prove that anyone in Payet’s camp has had any contact with Arsenal or Wenger.
If West Ham are to avoid relegation, it is imperative that everyone is committed to the club and the task ahead. Losing Payet in the January transfer window would be a blow to West Ham. However, in the same interview with RMC, Payet mentioned that he would be interested in a return to Marseille someday and that any move away from east London would be done only with the agreement of Bilic and the West Ham board. If Payet truly wants to abandon the club, Bilic needs to push ahead without him and bring players that would be committed to West Ham and keeping the club in the Premier League.