West Ham sell Payet to Mar­seille

Want­away mid­fielder to be pre­sented to­day

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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.”

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