West Ham eyeing up summer reunion for former Ligue 1 team-mates

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Over the past two seasons nobody has assisted more goals for Olympique Marseille than Dimitri Payet – a serious stat considering he hasn’t been at the club for eight months.

The West Ham man provided the final ball for a whopping 21 goals for the French club in all competitions last season and has proved a revelation since moving to the Premier League.

And now the Hammers are on the look-out for a man that he can provide similar numbers for next season, and he’s a player Payet knows all about.

Michy Batshuayi has, like the Frenchman, outdone his L’OM team-mates over the course of the past two years, this time in the goal-scoring department with 25 since the start of the 2014-15 campaign.

His 15 strikes to date this term have seen a number of top English clubs begin to sniff around the young Belgian, but reports are suggesting it is the Hammers who are leading the race.

The Mirror are reporting that United believe that Batshuayi’s links with Payet might just be the deciding factor in where the 22-year-old heads next.

He certainly won’t come cheap, with a fee rumoured to be in the region of £25m thought to be the figure the Gallic club are demanding before they get down to business.

That could wholly depend on how the striker does for Belgium at the Euro Championships in June, that is, if he even gets there.

The duo of Romelu Lukaku and Christian Benteke appear to be Marc Wilmots’ first and second choice strikers for the Red Devils, with the scrap for the remaining places rather open.

It is believed however that it will be a straight shoot-out between Batshuayi and Liverpool man Divock Origi for the final forward place in the squad.

The former will certainly want to find some of his early season form and fast if he is to convince Wilmots of his worth, with just one goal scored in his last 11 games in all competitions.

Despite his dry patch, the former Standard Liege striker is a proven goalscorer, something that West Ham chairman David Sullivan has confirmed the club are looking for in the months ahead.

Convince Batshuayi to link up once again with arguably one of the buys of the season in Payet, and the Hammers could have a potent threat up front in their maiden season at the Olympic Stadium.

All odds and markets correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.