Last season was West Ham’s best since the founding of the Premier League, as they finished seventh and qualified for the Europa League. Their talisman was attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet, who led the team with 12 goals and 14 assists in all competitions. Payet capped his year with a starring turn at Euro 2016, scoring three goals as France lost in the final.
Things aren’t going so great this year, however. West Ham fans hate their new stadium, they missed out on the Europa League group stage after losing a play-off to Romania’s Astra Giurgiu, and are 13th in the Premier League. Now, most worryingly, Dimitri Payet says he’s never going to play for the club again.
Marseille—who sold Payet to West Ham for £10.7m in 2015—apparently submitted a £20m offer for him, which West Ham roundly rejected, as he’s worth significantly more. Payet responded to the rejected offer by telling club officials he would “never kick a ball again for West Ham,” according to The Telegraph. And somewhat unusual for situations like this, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic confirmed Payet’s stance, while reiterating that West Ham won’t sell:
If West Ham can induce Marseille (or some other team Payet is willing to play for) to up their offer by £5 or £10 million, everything should be gravy. Payet is the sort of great player West Ham needs if they want to be on the fringes of the race for a Champions League spot again, but he also turns 30 in two months, and they could use his transfer fee to pay for two or three younger players.
But who knows? Four months ago Yaya Touré was on his way out at Manchester City, and now he’s a locked on starter for Pep Guardiola’s team. These situations can, and often do, morph in an instant.