Dimitri Payet has likely played his last game for West Ham, and while no one ever wants players to leave this way, it is probably for the best for everyone involved if the rumored move back to Marseille takes place.
In his brief time playing for the club, Payet has been something that the team has not had in years, a legitimate superstar who could suit up for almost any team in the world. The only other player that West Ham has had in the past decade that could even hold a candle to the performance that Payet had last season was Carlos Tevez and his magical goal scoring run at the end of the 2006-07 season to keep West Ham in the Premier League, but Payet’s goal scoring, free kicks, and passing led the Hammers to amazing heights that haven’t been reached since the 1980s or the FA Cup win in 1980.
Going into the new London Stadium with a star player that everyone else wanted on their team, it felt as if West Ham had turned a corner, and could hang their hats with the big boys of the Premier League. There was talk of European glory matches, new star strikers wearing the Claret and Blue, and even a few whispers of adding a few pieces and maybe, just maybe, sneaking up a snatching the 4th spot away from the likes of an aging Manchester City team or an underachieving Arsenal team.
Boy did that ever not happen. The FA Cup loss to Manchester City laid out what everyone already knew, that the team was in shambles and could only hope for mid-table consolidation. The nightmare of the Arsenal loss and the brutal capitulation to Astra Giurgiu in the Europa League had to weigh heavy in the mind of the players involved, as it did the fans.
In that vein, the time is right to sell Payet. After the way the season has gone, it seemed likely that Payet would leave in the summer, with the club looking for a replacement in the transfer window. While a move in January away from the club may not be ideal, it is a good bit of business to sell Payet for 20 million or more pounds, after all, he was purchased by West Ham in the summer of 2015 for 10.7 million pounds, netting the team a cool 10 million pounds in transfer profits.
West Ham has rumored to have already received a bid of 20 million pounds from Marseille. Rumors have been swirling for months about Manchester United, Arsenal, etc., being in for Payet, and at this point, it would be expected that the sharks will be circling with blood in the water. West Ham should try and leverage interest from Marseille to see if Arsenal or Manchester United would want to match that figure or go higher. If there is no more interest, selling Payet back to Marseille would rid the club of a want-away player and they can use the money to buy some younger players who might turn into something special, or just play the kids now and spend it in the offseason. The team might need a right-back or two as well. Just don’t spend it on Defoe.
Payet has looked disengaged for much of the season and his performances have suffered. His value right now has already peaked and is on the way down, it is time to sell him and make a profit on his services rather than have an already ugly situation get uglier. It may be a sad ending to his West Ham career, but it was always going to end this way, one way or another.