When Dimitri Payet joined West Ham from Olympique Marseille during the summer of 2015 for £11.25 million, not many expected the Frenchman to become a Premier League star.
However, the 29-year-old has provided 12 goals and 11 assists in 31 appearances for the Hammers, nine goals and eight assists coming in the English top flight, including this stunning free-kick against Crystal Palace.
West Ham are enjoying a stellar season according to their standards, being ranked sixth in the standings with 51 points after 31 matchdays, just two points down from Manchester United and three from Manchester City.
On Saturday, the Hammers take on Arsenal in a crucial Premier League encounter. West Ham have been handed just six defeats all season, with Payet being their catalyst.
The Frenchman could have been on the other side for next weekend’s clash, as the Gunners were interested in signing the midfielder when he played at French club Saint-Etienne.
“When he played in Saint-Etienne, we watched him many times. He had all the attributes to be a top, top player,” Wenger told the press (via Goal).
“This season he has matured a lot, he is back in the national team, and that shows he has been much more consistent. He always had top talent, but had periods where was up and down.”
Payet rose through the youth rankes at Nantes, before joining Saint-Etienne and being sold to Marseille. He’s also been capped 17 times for the France national team, scoring two goals.