Former West Ham United and England striker Tony Cottee believes Dimitri Payet may be forced to leave the club in order to win silverware.
Cottee, who played for the Hammers for eight years over two spells at Upton Park, was at the West Beach Bistro and Sports Lounge in Dubai on Wednesday for a live Q&A.
And despite insisting Payet is happy in London, Cottee recognises that the lure of trophies could tempt the aging playmaker away from the club.
“First and foremost, I know Dimitri’s happy at the club. His family’s settled in London, he’s got a huge contract at West Ham,” he revealed to Sport360.
“We all know he’s had a wonderful Euros and fantastic first season at the club. The problem West Ham’s got is that he’s 29 at the moment. The clock’s ticking. Once you get to 30, it goes really fast.
“As a footballer, forget the money and everything else, you want to win trophies. You want to play in the Champions League, there’s a World Cup coming up in Russia in two years time so he wants to be at a club where he’ll do well and competing to win trophies.”
Cottee retains hope of the midfielder staying put beyond this season. If Payet does eventually make for the exit though, he believes a move to another London outfit would be out of the question.
“I was hoping that would happen (winning trophies) at West Ham but if they’re having a transitional season, then it will be hard to keep hold of him. He’s a special player and he’ll want to play Champions League football. I’m sure the fans won’t begrudge him for that.
“They won’t want him to go to Chelsea, Arsenal or Tottenham – any of the London rivals. If he went to Manchester United or Manchester City, I think everyone would say thank you for the memories. I hope he stays but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Only City’s Kevin De Bruyne (4) has more assists than Payet (3) so far this season but West Ham still languish in 18th place after seven fixtures.
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