The Payet love affair appears to be over as Hammers boss, Slaven Bilic revealed that the Frenchman has handed in a transfer request to West Ham.
The Telegraph reports that Dimitri Payet has refused to play for the club again after they rejected a £20 million bid from Marseille. The player has reportedly refused pleas from West Ham club to see through the season and help the club climb the table.
Payet joined the Hammers from Marseille in 2015 for an initial fee of £10.7 million that rose to £14 million; and was regarded as one of the best bargains of last season.
Slaven Bilic has since stated that the club will not sell Payet and the midfielder will no longer feature in Saturday’s Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace. In a statement on the West Ham website the board has reiterated their commitment to not selling key players during the January transfer window.
Bilic spoke to the media at the club’s training ground on Thursday morning and stated:
“We have a situation with a player and it is Dimitri Payet. He wants to leave. The Club, us, as I said so many times before, we don’t want to sell him. We’ve said hundreds of times that we don’t want to sell our best players, we want to keep them.
I have a team to manage and he has probably been tapped up by some clubs, or whatever, which is usual in this part of the year, in the transfer window. Anyway, until he changes his attitude, he is out of the team. He isn’t going to train with us.
“We aren’t going to sell him, not whatsoever. It’s not a money issue or anything. We want to keep our best players and I expect from him to come back and to show commitment and determination to the team like the team has shown to him.”
This has all the makings of a bitter transfer saga that could rumble on for months. Fans will be keen to a situation similar to Saido Berahino; who unsuccessfully tried to force a move away from West Bromwich Albion, after the club rejected a pair of bids from Tottenham Hotspur in September 2015. A year and a half later Berahino has only played 4 league games this season, and West Brom are willing to part ways with the striker in a swap deal for Christian Benteke.
Fans on Twitter have been quick to point out these similarities:
We can't afford a Berahino mk2 situation, so why say Payet wont play but we wont sell either? It makes zero sense, risk getting minimal fee— West Ham Social (@WestHamSocial) January 12, 2017
Payet situation 50/50 from a #WHUFC perspective. Will the deal turn out like Berahino or Stones. Stubbornness, while valiant, may be costly.— Kristian Sturt (@FootieWriter) January 12, 2017
Initial reaction from West Ham fans on social media has been critical of Payet’s attitude and mentality. Some lacklustre performances this season that have led speculation that his heart hasn’t been in at all East London this season:
"Payet's bigger than West Ham"— Brad (@Brad_WHU) January 12, 2017
The man is 30 and hasn't won anything in his career. Would be rotting away in France if it weren't for us
If you were ever unsure why Payet ended up at West Ham during a mediocre career, you now know why. Not a team player. Poor attitude. Shame— Graham Cox ⚒ (@orientcox) January 12, 2017
Almost 6 years ago to the day- Payet tried to force a move to PSG from Saint-Etienne. Immediately punished & dismissed by Christophe Galtier— Mohammed Ali (@mohammedali_93) January 12, 2017
Please, no more'Payet got us where we were ' last season, quite a few players worked a lot harder than him— Kenny Parkin-Coates (@KennyPC57) January 12, 2017
More I think about it the more I can accept wanting to leave, if the bloody disgraceful way he's gone about it that annoys me.— Mark Harrison (@MarkHarrison23) January 12, 2017
Payet is a risky purchase. He's 30 with a price tag of £30m and he has 1 season of note to his name.— Shots (@IAmOmar_UK) January 12, 2017
Even WBC Cruiserweight World Champion, and Everton fan, Tony Bellew has added his opinion on the matter.
If Payet don't wanna play THROW him out! NO PLAYER is bigger than the club they play for! Football winds me up at times! #DontPlayDontPay— Tony Bellew (@TonyBellew) January 12, 2017
Others have pointed fingers at the owners', feeling that they are to blame for Payet’s possible departure.
Yes I'm angry with payet but it all boils down to our inept owners their transfer policy and our struggles since they need to go to #whu— ⚒Olly⚒ (@oljay99) January 12, 2017
Bad news for West Ham with Dimitri Payet wanting out. Judging by their valuations in window so far, they can expect a flurry of £1.5m bids..— Scott Wilson (@Scottwilsonecho) January 12, 2017
Of course, referring to West Ham’s perceived low ball bids for transfer targets during the January window.
Payet is symptomatic of the overall dysfunction of the club and the way the move to the OS/LS has been managed. Everyone looks the fool.— David Hautzig (@dhautzig) January 12, 2017
As with any major social media event, people have been quick on the trigger to add humour to the subject.
You've lost Payet— Rita (@KeefsLoveChild) January 12, 2017
I just don't think you understand
He's refusing to play
He wants to leave today
You've lost Dimitri Payet
QUOTE: Slaven Bilic: "Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us, but we are not going to sell him." pic.twitter.com/AWjWIkhxDQ— SPORF (@Sporf) January 12, 2017
In positive news, our reserves are about to get a hell of a lot better.— Charlie Walsh (@KingdomOfWHAM) January 12, 2017
Many things are still undecided and it is not at all clear who Payet will be playing for in his next game. The only certainty is that many Payet avatar pictures will be changed overnight.
But before everything gets too emotional, let’s all take a moment to remember the good times.
Read more from Jack Kavanagh at Culture Hash