Three creative midfielders West Ham could sign if they lose Payet for £25million
COMMENT By Matt Farr
West Ham simply cannot stop making the headlines this season, but they won’t be happy at why they are currently in the spotlight.
Their most valuable asset, Dimitri Payet wants to leave the club. He stormed onto the Premier League stage with the Hammers last campaign, becoming an instant hit with the fans.
However, this term he has looked a shadow of his former self, and as the weeks have gone by, has shown little interest in proceedings on the pitch and beyond.
This outcome wasn’t exactly a surprise for anyone, let alone West Ham, but they still have to deal with the consequences.
BBC Sport revealed earlier today that Payet no longer wanted to play for the club, but manager Slaven Bilic has little intention on selling his star man.
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Payet has contributed three goals and eight assists from 22 appearances this season, and would leave big shoes to fill if he were to leave the club this month.
Former employers Marseille remain keen on landing him, while there will no doubt be countless others emerging over the next few days after Payet’s outburst went public.
West Ham would prefer to avoid such a situation, but if they were to lose Payet this month for £25million or more, they should look towards these three creative stars to fill the void:
The Swansea and Iceland star continues to excel in the Premier League, and with his creative touch, would be the perfect replacement for Payet.
Already proven in the top-flight, West Ham would not have to look much further than the 27-year-old for success in the final third.
Sigurdsson already has six goals and six assists to his name from 22 appearances for Swansea in all competitions this term, but he finds himself locked in a relegation battle with the Swans.
Given the Hammers’ recent struggles, Sigurdsson could well find himself in a similar situation if he were to move to the Olympic Stadium this month, but realistically, West Ham should have seen themselves aiming for Europa League qualification this season – not where they are now.
West Ham would probably need at least what they would gain from selling Payet to even tempt Swansea into selling Sigurdsson, but it would be well worth it.
They would be acquiring the full package – a talented crosser and dribbler, a superb passer of the ball, and a set-piece threat – just like Payet.
Another potential addition would be Memphis Depay. He has not been quite so fruitful as Sigurdsson this season, particularly due to a lack of games, but the talent is there.
Former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal brought him to Old Trafford in 2015, following an excellent showing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and a strong season with PSV.
However, his move to United simply hasn’t worked out, and has been deemed surplus to requirements by new Old Trafford chief Jose Mourinho.
Therefore, he would very much be available for purchase this month, although United would only be interested in a permanent deal, and West Ham would need to pay a fee similar to the £25million they spent on him initially.
Depay has five goals from 27 appearances for the Netherlands, while his efforts last season brought seven goals and 10 assists from 49 appearances in all competitions.
He would add quality in the wider areas for West Ham, while he could also provide goals and creativity from a more central role, should Slaven Bilic deploy him as a secondary striker.
Another option would be for Bilic to turn to his Croatian roots. 27-year-old winger Ivan Perisic has the potential to light up the Premier League, having done so already on the international stage, as well as the German Bundesliga, and now the Italian Serie A.
Perisic has six goals and four assists from 23 appearances this season for Inter Milan, and could be available for a fee above £20million, despite only joining the club in 2015.
The main issue for the Hammers though, is that Perisic is one of Inter Milan’s highest earners. They may not be able to match his current deal, but the sale of Payet – as well as the exits of flops Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri – would be a good start to freeing up the funds.
In other West Ham transfer news, the Hammers have been handed a boost in their pursuit of this Italy international defender.