West Ham Players Wanted Forward Out Before Marseille Move

West Ham’s players wanted Dimitri Payet out of the club prior to his move back to Marseille, says the club’s joint-chairman David Sullivan.

France forward Payet, 29, rejoined the Ligue 1 club on Sunday for £25m, after allegedly refusing to play for the Hammers for the past month.

“As much as we didn’t want him out, you can’t go against the consensus of the team,” Sullivan told BBC Radio 5 live.

Sullivan went on to reveal that Payet sacrificed his wages for January.

“He’s not been talking to anyone in the squad,” said Sullivan of Payet, who joined West Ham in June 2015.

“He’s been sitting in the corner of the room for his meals and he’s isolated himself. Before that he was bubbly, happy, shaking everyone’s hand before the match.

“Either it was a tactic or something in his head had changed.

“The team wanted him out, the manager – with great reluctance – wanted him out. We think it’s bonded the team better together.”

West Ham paid Marseille £10.7m for the attacking midfielder in 2015 and he signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract in February 2016.

He excelled in his first season in the Premier League, scoring 12 goals and earning a nomination for the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award.

However, Payet scored only three goals from September to December last year, and manager Slaven Bilic said earlier this month that he did not want to play for the club any more.

“You could make him sit in the reserves for six months, and cost you another two or three million pounds in wages, and we thought about it because what we got out of Marseille wasn’t our valuation of the player,” said Sullivan, who rejected two initial bids for Payet.

“The player’s surrendered his January wages, so there’s a bit of dignity we got with that.

“You’ve got to take a sensible view – the offer was just about what we could accept. I can’t say I’m pleased with it. It’s a damage limitation deal.”

After re-signing for Marseille, where he had previously spent two years, Payet said it was a “personal choice” to return and he needed to go “back to his roots”.

Sullivan added: “We tried to talk him round but we accepted we weren’t going to be able to. We offered free flights home, help for his wife, everything we could possibly do – but he wanted to go back to Marseille.

“On his day he’s an outstanding player. I feel very sad he’s no longer a West Ham player.”

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(Via: CitiFM Online Ghana)