Dimitri Payet is a name that defines Newcastle United’s transfer policy.
West Ham are currently only one point off fifth place in the Premier League and that is almost solely down to the influence of Dimitri Payet.
When he was out injured, the Hammers won only one game, whilst when he has played they have picked up 32 of their 40 points.
With seven goals and five assists in the Premier League, plus his contribution in the cups – including two goals at Blackburn at the weekend, he has been a huge hit at West Ham.
Newcastle fans ended up with Florian Thauvin instead…
What makes it even worse, is that this was the second time that Newcastle passed up the opportunity to sign Dimitri Payet.
The Magpies had been scouting the playmaker throughout the 2013/14 season but decided to spend around £10m on Remy Cabella instead, the French media at the time said Marseille were keen to sell due to their financial situation and that Newcastle were looking at Payet as an alternative if they missed out on Cabella.
The deciding factor was claimed to be the relative age of the players, Mike Ashley seeing a far higher potential resale value in a 24 year old Remy Cabella than a 27 year old Dimitri Payet.
After a disastrous season at Newcastle, with the Remy Cabella transfer one of the factors that almost helped to relegate the Magpies, the former Montpellier player ended up back in France on loan at Marseille.
Surely Newcastle United and Mike Ashley had learnt their lesson?
Summer 2015 saw Marseille having no option but to sell Dimitri Payet this time, crippling financial pressures forcing his sale as well as that of other top players.
Having once again been Marseille’s star man, the one who made them tick, surely Newcastle would realise the value in bringing in a proven playmaker to a team who couldn’t afford to gamble again.
A 28 year old Dimitri Payet v 22 year old Florian Thauvin? Once again an all too sadly predictable outcome.
Newcastle spending some £3m more on a player who had often flattered to deceive even in the lower standard of the French league and hadn’t even being capped by his country (unlike Dimitri Payet – 15 caps).
Yet another horrific Mike Ashley gamble, speculating that 22 year old Thauvin would deliver him a massive profit in the future, rather than bringing in a proven experienced playmaker like Dimitri Payet, a player who had every chance of doing what Yohan Cabaye did when he arrived at the age of 25 as a proven experienced midfielder who was already in the national squad.
The £10m West Ham paid for Dimitri Payet is an absolute bargain and how many Hammers fans are worried about what he may or may not be worth in two or three years time?
If they get three or four good years out of him then that will repay his transfer fee many times over, especially with the amounts of money sloshing around the Premier League now.
The amount of money spent in summer 2015 may have gone up but the underlying ‘strategy’ remained the same.
The gamble on a 22 year old Thauvin has gone disastrously wrong, whilst expecting a then 20 year old Aleksandar Mitrovic to immediately step up from the Belgian league and solve the pressing need for goals was equally ludicrous. Particularly with no back up plan.
Good luck to West Ham and Dimitri Payet, the Hammers are showing a realistic approach to transfer and whilst they may have bought a 28 year old Payet, they are also investing in your British players like Cresswell and Byram, as well as mixing and matching with loans for decent players like Jenkinson and Song.
In a desperate attempt to save the club from relegation this time, Mike Ashley has caved in and allowed the signings of Townsend and Shelvey, players with at least some pedigree in the Premier League.
As for this coming summer, if Newcastle survive it will be interesting to see if Mike Ashley has learnt his lesson on buying young foreign players with the main driving force being their potential resale value.