The 2016/17 season can at best be described as one of consolidation for West Ham as they trundled in 12th in the Premier League having endured a frustrating first season at their new home. Undoubtedly the story of the year was the departure of Mr Payet, who returned to Marseille claiming that the London club lacked true ambition. Meanwhile, their marque signing was supposed to be Italian hitman Simone Zaza, but he was shown the door in January after failing to score in eleven miserable appearances.
The departures served to galvanise SuperSlav's troops who went on a decent run before running out of steam and succumbing to a series of frustrating injuries. Meanwhile, Mr Payet huffed and puffed but his Marseille side finished precisely where they were when he arrived - in a Champions League missing 5th. He managed 4 goals in 15 games - therefore averaging a similar strike rate to his West Ham career, and despite playing in the relatively easier environs of Ligue 1.
Zaza meanwhile rediscovered his scoring boots and notched a decent 6 strikes in 18 appearances for Valencia who have decided to take up the purchase clause in his loan deal and he will stay at the club for the coming season. As such, while Payet looks to have hit a plateau, Zaza is back in the ascendency.
Let’s hope that whoever comes as replacements fares better at the Olympic Stadium than these two wannabes did last year!