“I love West Ham. We had a fantastic season and I can’t wait to play in the Olympic Stadium. I’m 100 percent staying at West Ham, I love the club. I can tell the Hammers fans that.” — Dimitri Payet, July 15, 2016
“[I will] never kick a ball again for West Ham.” — Dimitri Payet, January 10, 2017
West Ham fans must’ve certainly felt as though they’d hit rock-bottom following their 5-0 home defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup last week, but they’ve been dealt another massive blow in the form of Dimitri Payet demanding a January transfer away from the club.
The French attacking midfielder was a revelation for the Hammers last season, scoring nine goals and adding 12 assists while being named to the PFA Team of the Year. He was sensational at Euro 2016 for France and appeared to be fully committed to West Ham after agreeing to a five-year contract extension last February.
Congrats @Dimpayet17!Our goal of the month for December is surely worth another watch... pic.twitter.com/fXHEWc8MjS
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 11, 2017
However, Payet, who earns over $150,000 a week, left the Hammer’s training ground in his Ferrari after informing the club the club that he was effectively on strike — refusing to play or train with his teammates until he’s sold in the January transfer window.
The club and manager Slaven Bilic have taken a hard line on the saga. “We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us. He wants to leave,” Bilic said. “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…We aren’t going to sell him, not whatsoever.”
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 12, 2017
Having been purchased from Marseille in 2015 for £14 million, it’s believed that Payet is now attempting to force his way back to the club. A reported bid of £20 from the French club has been rejected by West Ham.
With the Hammers languishing in 13th in the table, only seven points above the relegation zone, the London club are desperate to keep Payet at least until the summer.
74 - Dimitri Payet has created 74 chances in the Premier League this season; 16 more than any other player. Industrious. pic.twitter.com/B7YEF0ZqhF— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 12, 2017
A season that started with optimism surrounding the Europa League and the new Olympic Stadium has turned into a disaster.