West Ham United manager Slaven Billic says that forward Dimitri Payet no longer wants to play for the club – although the Hammers will not sell him.
It is understood that the Hammers had recently turned down a £19.1m bid for Payet from his former side Marseille.
Payet, who joined West Ham from the Ligue club for £10.7m in June 2015, had signed a new contract in February 2016 to tie him to the Hammers to the summer of 2021.
However, he held emotional talks with Bilic on Tuesday in which he conveyed to the manager of his wish to leave West Ham United and rejoin Marseille during the January transfer window, partly because of his family’s unhappiness with life in London.
The French International had also reportedly refused to train or play for the Hammers, and while West Ham is set to fine him for the indiscipline they acknowledged that such actions could further complicate the situation at hand.
Bilic felt feeling “angry” and “let down” by Payet and outlined the club’s position, which is to dig in for the rest of January, refuse to sell and hope the player can be reintegrated after the closure of the transfer window.
“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.”
“I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay. We aren’t going to sell him, not whatsoever. It’s not a money issue or anything. We want to keep our best players.”
West Ham are currently 13th in the Premier League, seven points above the relegation zone. They will host Crystal Palace this Saturday – with Payet excluded from the squad.
West Ham United 1-1 Crystal Palace