West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic has dashed Arsenal's hopes of making a winter move for Dimitri Payet after outlining the club "do not want to sell him." Meanwhile, the Gunners have taken Hednesford Town defender Cohen Bramall on trial.
Metro's Chris Davie referred to Payet's recent comments of praise regarding the prospect of playing under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before providing quotes from Bilic addressing rumours of a January exit:
We do not want to sell him, he is our top player. We said the same the last window and now all the speculation starts again. He's got a contract with us, a long contract and I'll say what I always say: we don't want to sell him.
West Ham have given a strong statement that we want to keep our best player. You can't stop speculation; great players always attract attention when the window comes.
We always knew this would happen, that there would be stories, rumours in the media. This is why it's important for the club to say this, but it's nothing new.
The statement gives another strong indication that the Hammers will do their utmost to keep hold of the France international next month, mentioning Payet's contract—which runs until 2021—as a particular sticking point.
Those comments came after Payet spoke to French radio station RMC and admitted he would enjoy playing at the Emirates Stadium, having been fiercely linked with a move to Arsenal over the summer, per Goal's Chris Wheatley:
It seems no coincidence Payet's stance on a move away from the London Stadium appears to have altered following West Ham's slow start to the season, which sees them sitting 13th in the Premier League, five points above the relegation places.
The Mirror's Darren Lewis referred to "desperate" Payet's come-and-get-me plea as a "shameless" act ahead of the January transfer window when his chances of a Hammers exit are sure to improve:
The former Marseille star has seen his stock skyrocket since leading West Ham to a seventh-place finish in the English top flight last term, where his displays earned him a call-up to the Premier League Team of the Season.
While he hasn't quite hit the heights of his dizzying 2015-16 form, Payet has still been impressive in patches this campaign, netting twice and providing five assists in 15 league appearances. Squawka pointed to him as one of Europe's brightest puppeteers since moving to east London:
Bilic's hopes of keeping hold of the player will be boosted by the fact Wenger often shows a preference for not signing players in the January transfer window.
However, the Arsenal chief may turn his attention to Payet after Wolfsburg's Julian Draxler, whom French daily Le Parisien (h/t Metro's Tom Olver) reported was a Gunners target, now looks set to join Paris Saint-Germain, per ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson:
Elsewhere, Chris Davie of Metro reported 20-year-old Hednesford Town left-back Bramall has joined Arsenal on trial in the hopes he can earn a professional contract with the top-flight team.
Bramall would be making a major leap from the seventh tier of English football—the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League—but his ability to operate on the wing as well as in defence could put him in good stead to earn an Arsenal stay.