Slaven Bilic believes that West Ham’s refusal to countenance the selling of their best player Dimitri Payet proves that they are moving upwards as a club. Payet has been the buy of the season in the Premier League after arriving from Marseille last summer and West Ham will listen to no offers for him this month, or in the foreseeable future. Having knocked back an offer from Galatasaray this week, Bilic is confident their uncompromising stance proves their ambition.
“From my point of view there is no money in the world for which we would let Payet go, never,” Bilic said at his press conference yesterday morning. “Many other clubs are selling clubs. But we are moving stadium, we are talking and acting like we are going to try – not overnight – but trying to go up as a club. For me, the most important thing regarding that is not to sell your best players. Payet is our player, we want him to stay and he is staying.”
Payet has been so immediately brilliant since joining that he has been compared to Paolo di Canio, who joined the club 17 years ago. “In this club there have been more big players,” Bilic said, “but I think the last player that made such a big impact in basically no time was Di Canio.”
Ultimately West Ham keeping Payet will help to attract other top players to the club, because of his quality, and because of what that represents. “West Ham is not only Dimitri Payet, of course,” Bilic said. “But he is, and I have no problem saying that, our best player. Of course, if we keep Payet, and I see no reason why not, it would attract other players as well. Because they would think not only about playing with Payet, but that West Ham are thinking big and long term.”
West Ham are not trying to buy anyone this window, only bring in a striker on loan. They are in talks to sign Emmanuel Emenike, the Nigerian currently on loan from Fenerbahce to Al-Ain.
“We are still waiting for that, it’s a complicated situation,” Bilic said. “Al-Ain called me and basically we thought we could do a straight swap with them, but now we are talking to Fenerbahce, and we will see what happens. At one moment it didn’t look good, but in that last couple of days the deal looks pretty much alive.”