If you ask West Hams of differing generations who their favourite player is you’ll get the usual suspects, Moore, Brooking, Bonds, Dicks, Cottee, Di Canio, and a more recent addition to that list is Carlos Tevez.
Who can forget the excitement around the club when it was announced that the Argentinean sensation was joining little old West Ham with his equally impressive but lesser known compatriot Javier Mascherano. The excitement was matched with equal measures of uneasiness over the whole deal.
After a shaky start for dear old Carlos, like all those legends who have trodden the path before him, he stood up to be counted when it really mattered most by turning in impressive match winning performances to help secure Premier League survival, and therefore etching his name in West Ham folklore for generations to come.
Since the time of Tevez West Ham have suffered relegation and the very real possibility of going out of business, only being brought back from the brink by the investment of the current owners.
It has also been the case that a player of his class, with the potential to win matches in a heartbeat, keep the crowds interested and to play in a manner which the press love to mock, ‘The West Ham Way’ has not graced the Boleyn since.
Many players have come and gone, plenty of potential, but little substance (Ravel Morrison springs to mind!).
However, this could all be about to change with the arrival of Dmitri Payet from Marseille, who if you have read the articles, watched the numerous YouTube clips or are an aficionado on French league football, is potentially a player to rival the skill and excitement of Tevez.
Modern football is becoming increasingly reliant on stats and those attributed to Payet are impressive to say the least. No player in Europe created more chances than the Frenchman last season – leading the way by some margin with 135.
He led the French League with a very impressive 17 assists, which was also the fourth best in any major European League.
This last stat should be seen as a big positive to fans and music to the ears of Andy Carroll, as the big problem we have suffered since his arrival (baring keeping him fit!) is the lack of service he has received when he has played. Jarvis has so far failed, Downing produced glimpses but has returned to the North East, which leaves a big void to fill.
Many will dilute these stats due to the perceived lack of quality in the French league, but as we have seen by the impressive signings Newcastle have made in recent years, lead by Graham Carr, and of course our very own Diafra Sakho, I think it’s safe to say that the French imports do handle the rigours of the Premier League very well and at just under £11m in the current market conditions, it has to be seen as a bargain.
So the question is, can Payet be the next Carlos Tevez? At this stage it is virtually impossible to predict as most pre-seasons give little indication of how a side will perform in the league, and this year has been compounded by the so far difficult and strenuous foray into Europe.
The legend of Tevez is often overshadowed by the saga relating to his ownership and was, if we are honest, built on West Ham fighting a relegation battle they should never have been in.
Many of the names I mentioned earlier booked there name as club legends by bringing success to the club, rather than making it survive.
Let’s hope that, if Payet is to go on to join the legends of our club, it is done with flair, desire, skill and in the process of transforming the club from Premier league underachievers into a consistent challenger for cup honours and European football.
A few match winning performances against Tottenham wouldn’t do him any harm either!
Play Fantasy Premier League? Join our league using the code below…