Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has fueled speculations that the Spanish giants will make attempts to sign Dimitri Payet this summer by describing his fellow countryman as ‘one of the most important players in Europe’.
The French attacking midfielder has scored two goals and provided one assist in three games in the Euro 16 so far, concluding the group stage matches in the most remarkable fashion.
Talking about the West Ham player of the year, Zidane said: “It is a great story – he (Payet) has always always had talent, but now at 29 he is getting the respect he deserves.
“There is so much pressure on young players to perform on the biggest stage, Dimitri has shown things don’t always have to happen early.
“When he wasn’t in the French team he never gave up, and now he is proving he is one of the most important and talented players, not just in the French side, but in Europe.
Payet, who joined the London-based club last summer for a reported fee of £10.7 million, hit the ground running in his debut Premier League season, netting nine goals and assisting another 12 as well.
Meanwhile, the former Marseille star has so far created 14 chances for his teammates in the Euro 16, one less than the long-serving record of Zinedine Zidane, which he achieved during the Euro 04 in Portugal.
“He had an incredible season with West Ham, and now at The Euros is showing that no occasion is too big for him. He would improve any side in Europe, that is how talented he is.
“From a coaches perspective he is everything you look for in an attacking midfield player.
“He can score goals, he can create goals, he has real quality from set pieces. Any club would want him, he is improving all the time.”
A host of elite European clubs are said to be targeting Payet including the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and PSG, but his agent has warned interested clubs that the Frenchman will cost ‘ridiculous’ money with West Ham reportedly wanting around £60 million for their star player.
And with every outstanding performance that passes by, Payet’s transfer saga is anticipated to get even more drastic in the coming weeks with several clubs expected to enter the tug-of-war for the 29-year-old.