West Ham sell Payet to Marseille
Wantaway midfielder to be presented today
Things turned sour when Payet angered his manager by requesting a transfer
West Ham United’s wantaway playmaker Dimitri Payet has moved a step closer to rejoining French side Marseille after the two clubs agreed a fee of £25 million (Dh115 m).
The 29-year-old Frenchman has expressed his desire to leave the club and has not appeared for manager Slaven Bilic’s side since refusing to play against Crystal Palace on January 14. A statement on West Ham’s Twitter page said: “West Ham United can confirm that a £25m fee has today been agreed for the transfer of Dimitri Payet to Olympique de Marseille.”
France international Payet, who arrived from Marseille in the summer of 2015, was a big hit in his first season with the London club, scoring 12 times in 38 appearances.
He also agreed a lucrative new and improved contract until 2021 last February before starring for his country as they reached the final of Euro 2016 on home soil.
But things turned sour earlier this month when Payet angered his manager Bilic by requesting a transfer and declining to be picked against Palace. His wish now looks to have been granted and a return to Ligue 1 imminent, despite the East London club’s initial reluctance to sell him.
Payet, who has also played for Nantes, St Etienne and Lille, had been forced to train away from the first team as the saga surrounding his future dragged on for most of this month. The Premier League club, meanwhile, have suffered no ill-effects on the pitch, winning against Palace and following it up with a 3-1 success at Middlesbrough to continue their climb up the table after a slow start to the season.
Bilic has also been able to strengthen his squad with the acquisitions of Southampton defender Jose Fonte and Hull City winger Robert Snodgrass
Elsewhere, Stoke City striker Bojan Krkic has moved to Bundesliga side Mainz on loan until the end of the season, the Premier League club have confirmed. Bojan, 26, who joined Stoke from Barcelona in 2014, leaves in search of regular firstteam football after featuring in only nine of Stoke’s 22 Premier League games this season.
Stoke, who are ninth in the league table, confirmed the move in a statement on their website.
“Today sees a very special chapter in my life come to a close as another really exciting one opens,” Bojan said on Twitter.
“For the time being, this isn’t a goodbye to Stoke City, it’s just a ‘see you soon’, but I don’t want to pass up on the opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved in ensuring that I hold great memories of my time at this club.”