Thierry Henry explains how West Ham can keep Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini

Thierry Henry Two

Thierry Henry claims West Ham must keep Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini at the club.

Thierry Henry has told The Sun that the only way West Ham can keep Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini is by qualifying for Europe.

The former Arsenal striker has been looking ahead to today's big Premier League game, where West Ham travel to face London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

It's a particularly fascinating clash given that the two teams are level on points this season, and are separated by just one place in the Premier League table, with both hovering just outside the top four.

Having beaten the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City this season, West Ham have enjoyed a brilliant start to life under manager Slaven Bilic, who was appointed over the summer following his departure from Turkish club Besiktas.

Yet, even after those scalps, Henry has told The Sun that he doesn't believe it will be enough to keep two other summer arrivals, Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini.

French playmaker Payet was the Hammers' top summer signing after arriving from Marseille, and his performances have dazzled the Upton Park crowd, earning comparisons to former West Ham heroes Paolo Di Canio and Carlos Tevez in the process.

Meanwhile, Argentine sensation Lanzini has also impressed since joining from Al-Jazira on loan, with West Ham surely pursuing a permanent deal at the end of the season due to his promising performances.

However, Henry has told The Sun that the only way West Ham will be able to keep both players in the long term is by qualifying for Europe this season - a big challenge for Bilic and his Hammers squad.

"Bilic has come in and immediately gained approval from the stands and the players," said Henry. "His task is to get West Ham into Europe. If West Ham are going to progress as a club, it is essential they keep hold of players such as Payet and Manuel Lanzini."

"It is inevitable that clubs who can offer Champions League football will come sniffing for them. And the only way you can fight those teams off is by having European football on a regular basis. West Ham are a well-followed club with a decent history, who are moving to the Olympic Stadium to generate more revenue. But they will need a quality team to match their quality stadium, which means keeping players like Payet, adding more quality — and competing at the highest level," he added.

The Champions League may be well out of West Ham's reach, but the Europa League is a realistic target for Bilic this season, if he can continue the fine work he has shown in the first few months of his reign in East London.

With the move to the Olympic Stadium on the way, West Ham are moving in the right direction, and European qualification would be the ideal way to cap off their stadium move, with exciting times ahead for Bilic's men - preferably with both Payet and Lanzini in the team.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch