Souness was asked by Sky Sports to name the five players he thought were the best additions to England’s top tier in the summer transfer window, and Payet made the grade.
The former Newcastle United boss has been very impressed by the attacking midfielder’s quality, and he believes that Payet’s impending return will be a major boost for the Hammers.
“Payet did not take long to settle as he became a vital player for West Ham before suffering a year-ending injury against Everton in November,” Souness said.
“At the time of the injury he had been involved in 35% of West Ham's goals, created three times as many chances as any of his team-mates and created more chances than anyone in the league aside from Mesut Ozil.
“The Hammers have won just once without him and his return early in the new year should give them a major lift.”
Payet has dazzled in his first few appearances for West Ham, and it is true that Slaven Bilic’s side have struggled him his absence.
The Hammers have won just one of their last nine matches.
The 28-year-old has been out since the start of November, when he picked up an injury in a match against Everton.
Payet is expected to return for the Hammers at the weekend though, when they take on Liverpool.
If West Ham can win that match they could move up to fifth in the Premier League table.