Dimitri Payet belongs in the list of Premier League players the streets will never forget.
The Frenchman was a joy to watch at West Ham United. He was an artist, prompting many fans to wonder why he wasn’t playing for a club closer to the top of the table.
Indeed, Payet, who arrived in a £10.7 million deal from Marseille in the summer of 2015, was named in the PFA Team of the Year following his debut season in England.
He produced the numbers to back up his wizards, scoring nine goals and providing 12 assists in the league in that remarkable 2015/16 campaign.
Among the highlights during his West Ham career, which was far too brief, were the rabona assist for Michail Antonio, the sublime free-kick against Crystal Palace and the brilliant solo goal against Middlesbrough.
So grab the popcorn, sit back and enjoy the Payet show.
It’s an almighty shame that West Ham fans got less than two full seasons of Payet.
The France international forced a move out of London in January 2017, returning to Marseille in a £25 million move.
In 2018, former West Ham boss Slaven Bilic admitted he had to let the playmaker leave after problems started developing in the dressing room.
“In the second season he was doing everything right on the pitch but he just wanted to go,” Bilic told Sky Sports. “He had some private problems and wanted to go.
“Of course, at that moment I tried to persuade him to stay because he was our best player. He was very liked by the other players and giving us that something extra.
“The club wanted him to stay, I got that message from the board as well so we were on the same wavelength and we wanted to improve. We didn’t want to lose our best players.”
Bilic added: “I tried to persuade him [to stay] and spoke to him a few times but when it came to the point that it started to damage the dressing room and the players started asking what was going on, then I had to react.
“I spoke with the board and unfortunately you have to draw the line.”
Yet Payet’s 2015/16 season will never be forgotten.
Thanks for the memories, Dimitri.
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