West Ham United co-owner David Gold admits he won’t hesitate to sell one of his best players Dimitri Payet if Real Madrid or Barcelona came asking for his signatures.
Image: Dimitri Payet in action for France at Euro 2016.
Payet had an awesome season with West Ham having debuted for the club few months ago, thanks to his dad Alain Payet who facilitated the contract deal that has seen Dimitri mature into a super-striker, and help resurrect a dying club.
His wonderful performances at the on-going Euro 2016 has also kept him in contention for one of the best players at the tournament but his history says it wasn’t “easy”.
Originally from Réunion, a small tropical island in the Indian Ocean, 1,000 miles east of mainland Africa and 5,700 miles from France, of which it is an overseas département, Vanguard reports.
At 17, Dimitri had lost all hope of ever making it big as a footballer. He had intended to live and merry on his small island forever after a failed attempt to play his game in France.
Image: Image on the right shows a younger Dimitri Payet.
Image: Dimitri Payet celebrates a goal for West Ham United.
“I thought the dream was over,” Payet says. “I had spent four years at Le Havre and when they told me I wasn’t good enough for the second division, it hit me hard. I didn’t even want to hear talk about me ever going back to France. I was quite traumatised by the experience and the decision not to keep me. I just wanted to stay on my island and play football there.”
Looking back at the past right now, the 28-year-old striker has a better understanding of why he was let loose. ‘He was just too fragile.’
“I don’t blame Le Havre,” he says. “Back then I wasn’t an easy person to handle. I was always one of the first to mess around. So there were a lot of reasons why my adventure stopped at that point.”
“The season I had playing as a kid against men in Réunion toughened me up a lot and taught me, basically, how to cope with hits.”
Image: The boy Dimitri Payet becomes a man heading for the top in football history.
Having worked hard on his psychology and physique, the player was ready to play top level football but never for Nantes. He was still feeling hurt. Unknowingly to him, Nantes had let him go so he could grow but remained on his trails.
Dimitri said: “When a second chance came along I argued about it with my dad and my uncle Jean-Marc and they convinced me I should try my luck again. And they were right. I accepted for my dad, in particular, because football is his passion and he never got the opportunity to go beyond Réunion. Having that idea in my head helped me stay strong in Nantes.”
There’s no doubt right now that the France international has everything it takes to play for big clubs like Real Madrid or Barca, and West Ham are wishing that either of the two makes a bid for their ace.
Image: Dimitri Payet
“We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure Dimitri pulls on a claret and blue shirt next season,” Gold told The Sun.
“We want to improve our squad and Dimitri is an integral part of what we’re trying to do. But we also must be realistic.
“If Barcelona or Real Madrid made a bid and he wanted to move there, it would be difficult to keep him.
“But the phone has not rung yet — although we know there’s a chance it will once the tournament [Euro 2016] is over. We’re not silly. Yet, let me be very clear, we would not welcome a call.
“The club certainly doesn’t need to sell him so this is not a case of, ‘we’ve bought him for £10m and can now make a tidy profit’.”