Dimitri Payet wants to leave West Ham for Marseille

Manager Slaven Bilic ‘angry’ and ‘let down’ after player effectively goes on strike

 Dimitri Payet: says his family have failed to settle in London and wants a move back to Marseille.  Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

Dimitri Payet: says his family have failed to settle in London and wants a move back to Marseille. Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP/Getty Images

 

Dimitri Payet held emotional talks with Slaven Bilic on Tuesday in which he told the manager of his wish to leave West Ham United for Marseille during the January transfer window, partly because of his family’s unhappiness with life in London.

Payet, who joined West Ham from Marseille in the summer of 2015 for €12.24 million and signed a new contract to 2021 in February of last year, is so determined to force the move back to Marseille that he has effectively gone on strike.

The France winger is refusing to train or play for West Ham and he is not hiding behind any injury, as can sometimes happen in these sort of situations.

As such, West Ham will fine the 29-year-old, even though there is the acknowledgement that it would make things more messy. Bilic has in response said that he will not allow Payet to feature until the player’s attitude changes.

Bilic talked about feeling “angry” and “let down” by Payet and outlined the club’s position, which is to dig in for the rest of January, refuse to sell and hope that the player can be reintegrated after the closure of the transfer window.

After Palace, the team have only one more game this month – at Middlesbrough on Saturday week. It feels like a case of who blinks first but West Ham are not about to make any rash concessions.

Bilic made it plain at his press conference on Thursday morning, which was ostensibly to preview the home game against Crystal Palace on Saturday, that he thought Payet had been “tapped up”, although he did not say by whom. It is unclear whether there has been an official offer, as yet, from Marseille but nobody at West Ham is under any illusions that it is on the way.

The French club are now under the ownership of the American businessman Frank McCourt and he has ambitious plans for them but there is still astonishment at West Ham that Payet should push so hard for the chance to rejoin them. Marseille are not, in West Ham’s opinion, a member of the European elite like, say, Real Madrid.

Payet has retained strong links to the coaching staff at Marseille and the prospect of moving his family back to the city is another major factor for him. His wife and three children have failed to settle in London and there is sympathy for that at West Ham.

Best players

“He’s definitely our best player and that’s why we gave him a long contract. We are not going to sell him. This team, the staff – we gave him everything, we were always there for him. I feel let down. I feel angry.

“I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay. We aren’t going to sell him, not whatsoever. It’s not a money issue or anything. We want to keep our best players.”

There is the feeling at boardroom level that the honourable thing for Payet to do would be to give everything until the end of the season and then his departure could be discussed.

Bilic added: “I expect him to come back and show commitment and determination to the team, like the team has shown to him. He’s probably been tapped up by some clubs or whatever. That is usual at this time of year. But until he changes his attitude, he is out of the team and he’s not going to train with us. I have a team to manage. But we are not going to sell him, not whatsoever.”

Payet, himself, is not considered to be one of the boys in the dressing room, which is not a complete surprise given that he does not speak too much English.

His dissatisfaction has been bubbling for a while but nobody at West Ham thought that things would kick off so dramatically.

There has been the feeling within the hierarchy that if a club such as Real were to have declared an interest in Payet, it would have been problematic but, as that has not happened, they would probably be able to maintain the status quo with him – despite him not being entirely happy.

Bilic was advised to tackle the issue at his press conference, largely because there would have been questions asked when Payet was not in the squad for the Palace game. Guardian Service

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