West Ham owner: Payet could go to Barcelona or Real Madrid

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After putting out dazzling performances week in and week out for West Ham last season, the squad’s biggest star could be on his way to an even bigger stage, according to a club executive.

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Co-owner David Gold has admitted that the Frenchman could leave the Hammers this summer for one of Spain’s elite teams, including Barcelona or Real Madrid.

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The 29-year-old netted nine goals and added 12 assists for the Hammers in 2015/16, sparking the team’s seventh-place finish in the Premier League.

“We will fight tooth and nail to make sure Dimitri pulls on a claret and blue shirt next season,” Gold said in regards to his star attacker.

“We want to improve our squad and Dimitri is an integral part of what we are 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.

“You can’t have a great player like Dimitri and expect no-one to make a bid, especially with the performances he is producing at the Euros. The phone has not rung yet, although we know there is a chance it will once the tournament is over. We are not silly. Yet, let me be very clear, we would not welcome a call.”

While West Ham will certainly push to keep Payet, as Gold mentioned, the prospects of larger clubs calling doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibilities given the attacker’s current form.

Payet is currently playing for France at EURO 2016, and has continued his impressive play for Les Bleus, who have advanced to the quarterfinals as the tournament’s host nation.