Earlier today Graham linked to an article indicating that we are rumored to be interested in France international Dmitri Payet. This one was kind of out of left field, much like yesterday's rumors linking us to Pedro Leon. The rumored price for Payet is similar to that of Leon, roughly 6-7 million pounds. While I doubt you'd expect a player at this price to be a star, depth and versatility are two things Chelsea also need to focus on if Nicolas Anelka is indeed shipped out in the Fernando Torres deal and/or Daniel Sturridge goes out on loan.
First, as Graham mentioned earlier Payet hails from the Reunion. He's a 23 year old right footed player, and he has experience playing as a second striker, both wings, and any advanced midfield position. His primary position is currently on the right wing, but he's also very adept on the right side of the midfield. He stands 5'9" tall and has been a bit of a late bloomer. He's primarily played as a midfielder prior to this season, and his move to a more advanced position has seen an eruption of goals (9 in 16 matches for St. Etienne). That's not a poor goal scoring record for a wing player, especially one relatively new to the position. His season has prompted most of the major French sides to become interested, but Chelsea seem to be the only major club from outside of France to be linked with his services. He may be of additional interest to us as he's not currently cup tied.Payet posses adequate speed and strength, but isn't particularly known for either attribute. He's not a real asset in the air, but that isn't really a necessary attribute in a wide player. He's capable with the ball at his feet, but won't wow you in the way Alexi Sanchez does. Payet's skill set is far more similar to that of personal favorite Luis Suarez. He's got a solid first touch, is an excellent crosser, and excels at long range strikes. He's known for being excellent in delivering set pieces and corners, and his strikes from set pieces tend to have an extraordinary amount of both vertical horizontal movement. Here's a look at some highlights that show off his long range and volleying skills:
Here's another quick look at Dmitri:
As you can see in both videos, Payet seems to benefit from having space to work with. He seems more dangerous on the right side, which is something we lack. He also seems like he'd be a very solid fit in the more direct attacks sometime featured in the Premier League. I wouldn't expect Payet to be a first choice starter here, but he'd certainly provide welcome depth if we added him. He'd fill a similar niche to the one expected to be filled by Yossi Benayoun before his injury, but at just 23 years of age he'd likely represent a better value moving forward. Not signing Payet isn't going to ruin my day by any stretch, but a player like him or Pedro Leon (who we were linked to yesterday) would be a very solid addition to the squads depth both now and in the future.