The new Di Canio: Slaven Bilic hails West Ham's star signing Dimitri Payet ahead of competitive debut

Slaven Bilic

West Ham United fans have craved a mercurial talent ever since Paolo Di Canio left the club back in 2003 and Dimitri Payet could be that player.

That's according to Hammers boss Slaven Bilic who has backed the Frenchman to be the key player for his side this season and improve all his teammates in the process.

Payet lit up West Ham's friendly at Norwich City on Tuesday night when he came on as a second half substitute, creating multiple chances and going close to scoring himself.

It comes after the 28-year-old gave a glimpse of his immense quality with two goals and an assist in his first game at Southend earlier this month after which teammate James Collins described him as 'by a million miles the best player on the pitch'.

Now Payet has earned the praise of his new boss who was speaking to the assembled media about his joy at signing his number one transfer target during a pre-match press conference ahead of West Ham's Europa League tie against FC Astra tonight.

It is a game in which Payet is expected to make his competitive debut for the Hammers and Bilic says he is the type of player he felt West Ham were desperately lacking, as per the Express.

'He will make every player better'

"He's the kind of player I thought we really needed, that's going to make every player better than they actually are," Bilic was reported as saying by the Express.

"He's got everything. He likes to take responsibility. He was my No1 and I am grateful to chairman that we got him. It's still early days but Dimitri is not only a great player, he's a professional, he's a good lad," he added.

West Ham fans have long yearned a new Di Canio

Hammers fans love someone who can play and in Payet they seem to have exactly that. The east Londoners splashed out £10.7 million - as reported by Sky Sports - to bring the 15-cap playmaker to the Premier League from Marseille.

Payet excelled in Ligue 1 last season, topping the assists charts with 17 in 36 appearances while also chipping in with seven goals in a Marseille side that finished fourth.

He created more chances than any other player in world football and had the second highest number of assists which led to goals behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

During his memorable four years with West Ham, all of the team's attacking moves went through Di Canio. He would pick the ball up in midfield and if he didn't score himself he would invariably set one up for a teammate.

The Italian was blessed with natural skill and if Payet has half the impact he made at Upton Park, he will have done very well indeed.

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