West Ham’s co-chairman David Gold has admitted that star man Dimitri Payet may leave London this summer for a move to La Liga.
The attacking midfielder is a serious candidate for player of the tournament at Euro 2016, after a string of good performances for his country France.
It is understandable that Payet has begun to attract interest from big clubs, as he managed to amass 12 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season for the Irons.
He joined from Marseille for a fee believed to be under £11million, and while the 29-year-old has four years left on his contract, it may be feasible that Payet will use the opportunity to play at the highest level while he has time on his side.
David Gold also admitted that this is a distinct possibility.
“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.”
France and Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane spoke of his admiration for the player last month, perhaps also dropping a hint that he is interested in bringing him to the Bernabeu.
“It is a great story – he (Payet) has always always had talent, but now at 29 he is getting the respect he deserves.
“There is so much pressure on young players to perform on the biggest stage, Dimitri has shown things don’t always have to happen early.
“From a coaches perspective he is everything you look for in an attacking midfield player.
“He can score goals, he can create goals, he has real quality from set pieces. Any club would want him, he is improving all the time.”