This week has seen some rather sensational claims linking Leeds United with a move for Marseille playmaker Dimitri Payet.
Sky Sports referenced ‘French media’ as reporting Leeds as one of three teams keen on the French international this summer. As reported by Sports Witness, no such French media reports actually exist.
Instead, it appears links between Payet and Leeds originate on Twitter. So it seems that the Payet to Leeds rumour is, currently, baseless.
However, if there was one man who could convince Payet to join Leeds United, it might be Marcelo Bielsa.
The duo have an excellent relationship.
It was under Bielsa that Payet found himself in the best shape of his career and finally starting to live up to his full potential. As Payet himself confirmed to So Foot in 2017, as relayed by Foot01, it was the Argentine who kickstarted his flagging career.
“Bielsa, that was the trigger, that’s where I really accomplished. I started to reach the high level with Bielsa…With him, I really had the feeling that he believed in me.
“Upon arrival, he showed me a video of one of my matches. I do not remember which one, but I remember what he said to me later: ‘I want this Dimitri. But on the other hand, I do not want it for two or three weeks, I do not want it for two months, I want it all the time.’ His ability to analyze everything, that explains the year that I spent with him.”
It was off the back of this renaissance that West Ham eventually swooped for Payet and he went on to become a star for both club and country. Payet now has 38 caps for France and would have been at the World Cup last summer were it not for injury.
In fact, as confirmed by West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan in an interview with the Daily Mail, Bielsa would have brought Payet with him to the Hammers if appointed in the summer of 2015.
“We were talking to the then Marseille manager Marcelo Bielsa about coming to West Ham and we said: ‘Who is the one player you would bring?’ He said Payet.”
So it is clear that Bielsa and Payet both think highly of each other. Therefore, Payet at Leeds is not the most unlikely story in the world at some point in time.
But with Leeds in the Championship and Payet likely to command a huge wage, it certainly doesn’t look possible at the moment.