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West Ham seals deal for 21-assist Marseille midfielder ahead of Europa League play


Albania’s midfielder Elseid Hysaj (L) vies with France’s forward Dimitri Payet during a friendly football match Albania vs France on June 13, 2015 in Elbasan, outside Tirana. AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

AFP/Getty Images

Marseille isn’t happy to see him go, but Dimitri Payet is now a Hammer.

The 28-year-old French midfielder has traded Ligue 1 for the Premier League, moving to the Boleyn Ground and a new five-year contract after a reported $15 million sale to West Ham United.

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Capped 14 times by France, Payet spent the last two seasons at Marseille and has yet to play outside of Ligue 1. He scored seven goals and added 21 assists in league play last season before pledging to honor his contract less than a month ago.

He’s off to West Ham anyway.


“West Ham really showed me that they wanted me to come, both the Joint-Chairmen and the manager,” Poyet told “That’s very important for me. I was also keen to sign up to a clear project. West Ham’s is very interesting and matches perfectly with my ambitions.

“Firstly I spoke with the manager, who really wished for me to come here and had been watching me a lot. He made it clear that he wanted me to sign and that too was important in my choice.

“I’m an attacking footballer so for sure I like attacking football and that they’re counting on me to help achieve that gives me a sense of responsibility. The fact that I’m here is also down to that.”

Provided the playmaker adapts to England -- no small task -- he could form a powerful midfield duo with Alex Song should the Hammers secure the Cameroonian defensive midfielder from Barcelona. That’s a pair of big conditions, but things are looking up for West Ham ahead of Europa League play next month.

Now can this help them avoid the late-season swoon that cost them a Top 7 spot? New coach Slaven Bilic is surely planning on it.

Follow @NicholasMendola