The name Dimitri Payet is taboo around the London Stadium for good reason.
The French star was an absolute revelation when he first joined Slaven Bilic’s West Ham in 2015, rising to stardom in a matter of games after displaying immense ability.
His freekicks were something out of a dream, his dribbling was sensational, he was capable in front of goal, and really kept the squad ticking.
But it seems sometimes even the promise of playing in the Premier League against some of the top players in the world is not enough for some, and within two years of achieving hero status at West Ham, he was stripped of it almost immediately after declaring his intention to leave and return to former side Marseille.
Effigies were burnt, replica shirts ripped, hearts broken, but mercenary Payet unlikely gave a second thought as he departed never to return in 2017.
Annoyingly for West Ham fans, their recently departed player picked up where he left off in France, providing 10 goals and 24 assists in 47 appearances.
Marseille narrowly missed out on 3rd place and were unfortunate to come up against one Europe’s elite in Athletico Madrid when they faced-off in the Europa League final.
Payet himself missed out on the opportunity to join the French national side in their successful World Cup campaign due to an injury he sustained during the final in Lyon, and though he announced that “OM is in my heart and, if it were necessary to do it again tomorrow, after tomorrow, in six months, in a year, I would do it without hesitation”, (as per www.rti.ie) we have a feeling it hurt a lot staying at home for what was possibly his last World Cup.
Payet has been fairly decent this season helping his side into the top four, but it looks unlikely to replicate the form of previous years now age is a factor.