West Ham have been dealt a crucial injury blow with the news that influential summer signing Dimitri Payet will be sidelined for approximately three months with an ankle injury sustained during the 1-1 draw with Everton on 7 November.
The 28-year-old had quickly established himself as arguably the club's most important player since arriving from Marseille for a fee of £10.7m ($16.1m) in June, scoring five goals in 13 appearances as they look to gatecrash the Premier League's top six under cult hero Slaven Bilic.
"West Ham United can confirm that midfielder Dimitri Payet suffered an injury to his left ankle during Saturday's game with Everton," read an official statement featured on West Ham's website after Jack Sullivan, son of co-chairman David, revealed that the player was set for a long lay-off. "The France international had a scan on Sunday and after a consultation with a specialist on Monday, it is likely that he will be ruled out of action for three months."
The scissor tackle which has been blamed for the injury and led to Payet being replaced by Enner Valencia five minutes into the second half drew an angry reaction from supporters at the Boleyn Ground, with Everton midfielder James McCarthy only receiving a yellow card from referee Paul Tierney. Both sides claimed a point from an entertaining contest after striker Romelu Lukaku notched his seventh goal in seven career appearances against West Ham to cancel out Manuel Lanzini's eye-catching opener.
Bilic was able to welcome defender Winston Reid back into his starting line-up at the weekend after he missed more than four weeks of action due to a hip problem, but striker Diafra Sakho was also absent with a thigh injury.
Valencia sustained his own ankle injury and needed to be stretchered off less than 20 minutes after replacing Payet and West Ham have confirmed that they will issue an update over his fitness after he is assessed by a specialist next week. The Hammers face London rivals Tottenham and also West Brom in their first two fixtures following the next international break.