Payet could go to Barcelona or Real Madrid, admits West Ham co-owner

David Gold insists the east London side are desperate to hold onto their star man but has admitted that an offer from one of the Spanish giants could force their hand

West Ham co-owner David Gold has admitted that his side could lose Dimitri Payet to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

The France international, 29, is shining at Euro 2016 after an impressive debut campaign in the Premier League following his move from Marseille, which was reported to be worth £10.7 million.

Payet finished the season with nine goals and 12 assists in 30 league appearances, and only Mesut Ozil created more chances, according to Opta.

Gold insisted West Ham are desperate to keep Payet as they prepare for their first season in the Olympic Stadium, but acknowledged that Barca or Madrid could be too difficult to fend off if his player wanted to join them.

“We will fight tooth and nail to make sure Dimitri pulls on a claret and blue shirt next season,” Gold said to The Sun.

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“We want to improve our squad and Dimitri is an integral part of what we are 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.

“You can’t have a great player like Dimitri and expect no-one to make a bid, especially with the performances he is producing at the Euros.

“The phone has not rung yet, although we know there is a chance it will once the tournament is over. We are not silly. Yet, let me be very clear, we would not welcome a call.”

Gold stressed West Ham are under no financial pressure to sell Payet and does not want them to be perceived as a selling club – even though any departure of the playmaker, under contract until 2021, would secure a massive profit.

He continued: “The club certainly doesn’t need to sell him so this is not a case of: ‘We have bought him for £10m and can now make a tidy profit’.”

The co-owner also discussed the challenge of taking on England’s biggest clubs in the transfer market after Michy Batshuayi – who they had targeted – opted to join Chelsea, having completed his move on Sunday.

“We are desperate to bring in quality players. Nowadays we are competing with Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United or Manchester City. For them, resources are virtually unlimited,” he said.

“But in the real world at West Ham, you have got two English owners who pay their taxes, without the resources of those other clubs. 

“We are not a club yet that can compete on that scale with them, but we are no longer a selling club – we are a spending club and investing in our future.

“The gap is shrinking between us and them. Big fish eat little fish. West Ham have been a little fish for too long and the only way to stop being eaten is to become a big fish.”


07 2016
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