West Ham’s star midfielder Dimitri Payet has handed in a transfer request and wants to leave the club in the January transfer window itself. Hammers boss Slaven Bilic confirmed in a press conference that the France international has refused to play for the Premier League side as he waits for a transfer.
“Let’s get serious. I have a situation with a player,” Bilic said. “It is Dimitri Payet. He wants to leave.
“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us..
Although West Ham finished a creditable seventh in the 2015/16 season, their 2016/17 campaign has been far from an improvement. After moving to the new Olympic Stadium, they have had terrible results by last season’s standards and they now find themselves in 13th place.
Payet was the London side’s inspiration last season with nine goals and 12 assists as he lit up the Premier League time and again. His success with the club saw him make the Euro 2016 squad for France and a successful tournament on an individual level despite the loss in the final saw his stock rise in the transfer market.
Ever since this summer, Payet has been a target for clubs in the Premier League and abroad, especially back in France. Having arrived in England from Marseille, he has been linked with a move back to the club where he scored seven goals and had 16 assists in his final season before the transfer.
Big spenders Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked with a move for Payet while Premier League rivals Arsenal and Manchester United have been keen on securing his services. Just last month Payet had said that he “could have fun” in a team like Arsenal.
Payet had signed a contract extension only last year and has a deal to stay at West Ham until the summer of 2021. For any club to sign him, they would have to pay over the odds to force the Hammers to sell, especially if he wants a move to a rival Premier League club.
However, Bilic is adamant that the club will not sell him midway through the season. “We are not going to sell him,” the Croatian boss said. “It’s not a money issue or anything. We want to keep our best players.”
Bilic also expects Payet to get his head back in the game and show the same “commitment and determination” to lead West Ham back to the top half of the table.
Payet’s case is not new to football clubs and, in the majority of the cases, it is the player that eventually gets his way. For Payet, a move to a bigger club is a step up in both stature and wages. He cannot lift West Ham by himself and criticism has come in from all quarters with many even blaming the new stadium for the Hammers’ dip in form.
With this move, the Frenchman has sent out an invitation to other clubs to come and get him but West Ham may play hardball and keep him on till the summer unless Bilic fails to convince Payet to finish the season with the Hammers.