Published On: Mon, Jun 24th, 2013

Who is Arsenal target Dimitri Payet?

Recent reports have suggested that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will wield his transfer sword this summer after being given a big funding boost.

And many Ligue 1 players are being recognised by the Premier League’s top sides after the league continues to produce top quality players.

Wenger may be looking to scout his home country for potential players to improve his club’s fortunes for next season.

A number of players have already been linked with the London club, including Frenchman Dimitri Payet.

Read on below to find out more about the 26-year-old midfielder who has recently been linked with a move to the Emirates.

Profile

Florent Dimitri Payet was born on the 29th March 1987 on the French island of Reunion, which has a population of around 800,000 people.

He started his footballing career at his local club AS Saint-Phillippe and impressed the coaches at the club.

After three years he moved on to a bigger club on the island, JS Saint-Pierroise, before moving over to France to join La Havre a year later.

He struggled at the Ligue 2 side however and after four years moved back to Reunion to sign for AS Excelsior.

Nantes

So Payet played for four teams during his youth career but was eventually given another chance to prove himself in mainland France on a professional basis.

He signed for the Nantes reserve team in 2005 and quickly established himself as one of the best reserve players at the club.

His performances earned him a first team call-up, he impressed once again and was given a three-year-deal.

Saint-Etienne

Nantes were relegated at the end of the 2006/07 season and Payet expressed his desire to remain in the first division in France by handing in a transfer request.

Payet signed for Saint-Etienne stating that his decision was easy as the club would offer him first-team football.

He initially struggled to make waves in the first team at the club, however over the four years he spent at the club, he became a valuable member.

He made 129 appearances for the Ligue 1 side, scoring 19 goals.

One dark patch on his Etienne career however was when he came to blows with teammate and club captain Blaise Matuidi during a game.

The incident was resolved and Payet continued to improve as a footballer, and during the 2010/11 season he attracted the attention of a number of clubs, including Liverpool and Chelsea.

Lille

After the interest of various big clubs, Payet handed his second transfer request of his career in at Etienne, which was refused.

However Payet attempted to force a move through by failing to show up for training, and subsequently was dropped down into the reserve side.

In 2011 he signed for defending league champions Lille for a fee of around €9million with future incentives.

He has made over 70 appearances for his current club, scoring eighteen times and once again capturing the attention of some of Europe’s top clubs.

Payet is also an international, making his debut in October 2010 and has made five appearances in total for France.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Payet can play as an attacking midfielder as well as on either wing, and plays primarily as an advanced playmaker.

He can score goals but is also a selfless player, having assisted his teammates 18 times this season for Lille.

The 26-year-old is 5ft 9″ which means he is quick and agile, and he also possesses excellent technique and skill.

However he seems to have a slightly immature character, highlighted by his altercation with former teammate Blaise Matuidi and failing to turn up to training.

He seems to be a player who could disrupt the moral of a club, but his talent and skill is obvious.

Verdict

Dimitri Payet could be a top signing for Arsenal, if Wenger can keep him under control and happy.

The last thing the Gunners need is a player who could disrupt squad harmony as they attempt to rebuild a side that are capable of past glories.

But Payet could offer another attacking option and some spark down either wing, which is not a bad thing at all.

Reports have suggested that Arsenal may be on high alert after French side Marseille are thought to have tabled an offer for the midfielder.

Wenger may have to stump up a big chunk of his reported £70million budget to capture Payet, so may be weighing up his options.

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