West Ham boss Bilic not pre­pared to let Payet leave the club

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

West Ham are stand­ing firm against Dim­itri Payet’s re­quest for a trans­fer, re­fus­ing to sell the English Pre­mier League team’s star player.

"I am feel­ing let down and an­gry," man­ager Slaven Bilic said yes­ter­day as he re­vealed Payet no longer wants to play for West Ham.

But Bilic urged the France mid­fielder to show the same "com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion" West Ham did by giv­ing him a new con­tract through June 2021 last year.

"We gave him a long con­tract be­cause we want him to stay," Bilic said. "We have said we don’t want to sell our best play­ers but Dim­itri Payet does not want to play for us. We are not go­ing to sell him.

"That’s why we gave him a long con­tract, and then a new con­tract four months later. I phoned him with that and he re­fused to play for us."

The 29-year-old Payet joined from Mar­seille in June 2015 and made a huge im­pact on the club last sea­son, help­ing it to fin­ish sev­enth in the Pre­mier League with his ar­ray of tricks and goals from free kicks.

This sea­son, his per­for­mances have dipped and West Ham is in 13th place in the 20-team Pre­mier League, as it en­dures a dif­fi­cult start to its ten­ancy at the Olympic Sta­dium in Lon­don.

Still, Payet’s out­stand­ing per­for­mances from last sea­son and his rare abil­ity to win games make him highly sought af­ter.

"He’s prob­a­bly been tapped up by some clubs or what­ever," Bilic said. "I have spo­ken to the club, the chair­man and the vice chair­man. It’s not a money is­sue. We want to keep him. That’s it."

Al­though Bilic is adamant that Payet will stay, he is leav­ing him out un­til fur­ther no­tice.

"Un­til he changes his at­ti­tude he is out of the team and he’s not go­ing to train with us. But we are not go­ing to sell him," Bilic said. "I ex­pect from him to come back and to show com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion to the team like the team has shown to him."

On the back of his per­for­mances last sea­son, Payet broke back into the France team and was a key player in the side that reached the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship fi­nal, los­ing to Por­tu­gal in ex­tra time. He scored three goals at Euro 2016, fur­ther rais­ing his pro­file.

Payet played two sea­sons for Mar­seille but, at the time of his trans­fer, said he was un­happy to be sold and wanted to stay.

In an in­ter­view last month with French ca­ble chan­nel SFR — which has the ex­clu­sive rights in France to show the Pre­mier League — Payet hinted that he would be happy to re­turn to the south­ern port city.

"I’m not clos­ing the door on any­thing," Payet told SFR in late De­cem­ber. "Mar­seille has a new project that seems to be in­ter­est­ing."

Mar­seille was bought in Oc­to­ber by Amer­i­can busi­ness­man Frank McCourt — the for­mer owner of base­ball’s Los An­ge­les Dodgers — who pledged to in­vest 200 mil­lion eu­ros ($220 mil­lion) over the next four years.

"Of course, we’re wait­ing to see the first ac­tions of the new own­ers," Payet told SFR. "But every­one knows my at­tach­ment to this club and I speak very highly about (the club) be­cause that’s what I think. So, why not?"

Still, it would prove very costly for Mar­seille to buy Payet, who was on a con­tract re­port­edly worth more than 600,000 eu­ros ($640,000) per month.

Slaven Bilic urged Dim­itri Payet to show com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion Photo: AP

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