Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew has lavished praise on Dimitri Payet ahead of his side's trip to West Ham United this weekend, claiming that only stars from table-topping Leicester City have been better than the Frenchman this season, as quoted by the Eagles' official Twitter account.
Payet is enjoying an outstanding debut season in England since joining the Hammers from Marseille last summer, and has racked up 11 goals and eight assists from midfield.
Meanwhile, Leicester City are within seven matches of making history as the 2014 Championship winners look to win the Premier League title, thanks largely to the success and form of such stars as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and Danny Drinkwater.
Speaking ahead of Palace's trip to Upton Park, Pardew highlighted Payet's ability and said that the 29-year-old, who scored a magnificent free-kick for France on his birthday this week, has been the best outfield player in the top flight outside of Leicester.
"Payet is a guy who is at the top of his game. Without a doubt - outside of the Leicester boys - Payet is the best outfield player this year."
Pardew's men will certainly have to make keeping Payet quiet a priority if they hope to turn around their abject recent league form by picking up points at Upton Park.
Palace have failed to win in any of their last 13 Premier League matches since 19 December, and have lost nine of their 11 in 2016, form which has seen them plunge to just seven points outside the relegation zone.