Co-chairman David Sullivan has reiterated West Ham United's intention to retain the talents of Dimitri Payet. The 29-year-old has become a firm fans' favourite since joining from Marseille last summer and recently enhanced his reputation further by slotting home the winning goal for France in their 2018 World Cup qualifying comeback victory over Sweden.
Payet also teed up Paul Pogba for his equaliser in Paris and such a performance only served to further highlight his importance to both club and country. West Ham have not been shy in their desire to keep one of the Premier League's most entertaining attacking talents, handing him a new five-year deal in February that reportedly made him the club's highest earner on a cool £125,000-a-week ($155,000).
However, a disappointing start to the season that has seen Slaven Bilic's side stubbornly hover around the lower depths of the table amid well-publicised issues following their controversial move to the London Stadium has raised concerns that Payet could be tempted to leave in January.
The 29-year-old did little to calm those fears during a recent interview with Telefoot in which he claimed he would not "close the door to anything" amid apparent interest from Paris Saint-Germain, although Sullivan is adamant that he will remain with the Hammers for the foreseeable future.
"Dimitri has had an outstanding year and has become a vital player for France and I am so proud that he is a West Ham player," he told the club's official website. "He has played 16 times for his country in 2016, scoring seven goals and assisting five more, and inspiring them to the final of the European Championship. Dimi signed a new long-term contract in February, pledging his future to this club, and it is very much our intention that he remains with us for years to come."
Payet scored 15 times and registered 17 assists during his first season in English football following that £10.7m switch, but has found goals harder to come by this term with just two strikes to his name thus far. After opening his account with a dramatic 96th-minute free-kick that saw off the spirited challenge of League Two outfit Accrington Stanley in the third round of the EFL Cup, he notched a special individual effort in a 1-1 top-flight draw with Middlesbrough that helped West Ham halt a dismal run of four consecutive Premier League defeats.
Providing he comes through tonight's (15 November) international friendly against the Ivory Coast unscathed, West Ham will hope that Payet, who made a slow start to the campaign after helping hosts France to reach the final of Euro 2016, will play a key role in Saturday's London derby clash against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. The fixture list does not get any easier after that, with a Premier League/EFL Cup quarter-final double-header against Manchester United followed by meetings with title contenders Arsenal and Liverpool.