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Arsene Wenger has revealed he monitored West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet long before he joined our London rivals.
Payet joined West Ham for a fee of about £10.7m last summer and is now being regarded as the best business of the summer transfer window.
Wenger who is known for having one of the best scouting network in France was asked if he watched Payet while the midfielder was still in France.
Wenger revealed he has been keeping tabs on the midfielder for as far back as nine years ago before the 29 year old made the switch to West Ham last summer.
‘Many times,’ Wenger said, as quoted in the Daily Mail.
‘I have known him for a long, long time. When he played at St Etienne he played there for a few years and we watched him many times. He has all the attributes to be a top, top player and is that in fact.
‘He is 29-years-old already, but this season he has matured a lot as he has come back into the national team when he looked to be out. That shows he has been much more consistent.
‘He has always had top talent, even when in periods he has been a bit up and down. But he has been very consistent.’
When asked why he refused to make a move for Payet despite monitoring the midfielder for many years, Wenger added:
‘We had this kind of player and we had no need [for more].’
‘Historically we always had a great number of creative players — we had Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey — they are all offensive players and I’ve certainly forgotten a few, so we had the numbers.’
Payet has now joined the long list of top players Wenger has missed out in the past.
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