Less than one year removed from Payet being the creative force in the Hammers’ seventh-place finish in the Premier League, and his virtuoso performance for France at Euro 2016, Payet says he does not want to play for the Hammers any longer. Manager Slaven Bilic says Payet will not play for the club nor will he be sold at the moment.
Both sides are digging in their heels and readying for the likely messy divorce with attitude and commitment frequently thrown around in the escalating public war of words between the sides.
Where does ambition fit into all of this? Flying high through last season and into the summer, Payet must have thought West Ham was on the ascendancy. The Hammers were moving into a new stadium, splashed some cash in the transfer market and boosted their prospects of pushing for greater heights in the league and in Europe.
West Ham, however, crashed out of the Europa League, injuries hit, transfer money looked misspent, free transfer and players on loan ranged in form from average to lousy and a tough start to the league campaign (i.e., flirting with the relegation zone) produced panic instead of promise.
Payet, one of the best players in Europe in terms of creating chances, is bound to the Hammers until 2021 thanks to a contract signed 11 months ago. It doesn’t look like his legs or his heart is in the fight though. Payet recently liked, and then un-liked a tweet that said he should return to Marseille, the club which sold Payet to West Ham, set off a flurry of speculation that he wants out, which has now been confirmed by the club. Maybe the promise of West Ham’s rise and the reality of the situation has Payet longing for a return to France, for himself and his family.
The dream of Payet leading the Hammers to bigger and better things looks all but over now. Unfortunately there will “Always Something There to Remind Me” err, supporters, of what could have been with Payet if he does leave the club.