West Ham United star Dimitri Payet has enjoyed such a meteoritic rise this season that his club now faces difficulty retaining his services.
Payet was on the scoresheet again for France on Sunday as they battered Iceland 5-2 to book their place in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.
Payet has been in sublime form for both club and country since his £10.7-million switch to the Hammers from Marseille just 12 months ago.
The 29-year-old winger managed nine goals in 29 Premier League starts last season and was duly crowned the club’s Player of the Year. Now, however, Payet’s performances has alerted the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, with both Real Madrid and Chelsea reportedly keen on the player.
‘We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure Dimitri pulls on a claret and blue shirt next season,’ the West Ham chief David Gold told The Sun.
‘We want to improve our squad and Dimitri is an integral part of what we’re trying to do. But we also must be realistic. If Barcelona or Real Madrid made a bid and he wanted to move there, it would be difficult to keep him.’
Payet remains key to France’s hopes of lifting the European Championship on home soil, with the side set to face Germany on Thursday.
‘You can’t have a great player like Dimitri and expect no one to make a bid, especially with the performances he’s producing at the Euros,’ Gold admitted.
The France versus Germany clash will be played at the Stade Velodrome on Thursday.
Kick-off is at 21:00.