West Ham sell Payet - and offer to replace fans' shirts

French midfielder, who had refused to play, finally gets his wish and moves back to Marseille

(Image credit: Steve Welsh/Getty Images)

West Ham have accused Dimitri Payet of showing a lack of respect after he was sold to Marseille for the sake of "team unity".

Reportedly wanting to return to his native France, Payet handed in a transfer request earlier this month and then refused to play, angering teammates and fans alike.

West Ham have now accepted a £25m offer from Marseille, up from £22m two weeks ago.

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In a statement, Hammers chairman David Sullivan expressed "sincere disappointment" that Payet "did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him".

Although the 29-year-old had been agitating for a move, Sullivan insisted he had only been sold at the behest of manager Slaven Bilic.

He said: "I would like to make it clear that we have no financial need to sell our best players and that the decision to allow Payet to leave was in accordance with the wishes of the manager and the interests of squad unity.

"To be frank, my board and I would have preferred for him to have stayed in order to make an example of him, as no player is bigger than the club."

According to the Daily Mail "the arrival of Hull City midfielder Snodgrass at the London Stadium means West Ham no longer have any interest in trying to hold 29-year-old Payet against his will".

Payet has gone from hero to zero at West Ham so quickly the club are offering to replace replica shirts sold with his name on the back.

"West Ham director, Karen Brady, announced the club would replace shirts featuring Payet's name and number with a replacement for the price of £25," reports the Daily Telegraph.

Brady made the announcement after complaints from angry fans.

However, "a number of West Ham fans on Twitter thought the gesture did not go far enough to compensate out of pocket fans", adds the Telegraph.

Dimitri Payet in limbo as West Ham and Marseille reject him

20 January

There appears to be no way back at West Ham for rebel midfielder Dimitri Payet after his car was vandalised outside his home.

The French star has refused to play for the East End club and is demanding that the Hammers sell him back to his former club, Marseille, this month.

The attack on the player's car took place on Thursday night says the Daily Mail. "The car was targeted outside Payet's house, with suggestions a brick was thrown through a window," it reports.

The midfielder's exit now looks "inevitable" says the paper, which claims that he has alienated his colleagues as well as fans. "He has been ostracised by some teammates and the Frenchman is no longer welcome at team meetings and bonding dinners." Other reports say he has been deleted from the first team's WhatsApp group.

Payet's wife and family have already moved back to France, says the Daily Telegraph. Although the paper believes "there is sympathy from West Ham with regards to his personal situation," the Frenchman's insistence on leaving this month has upset many at the club who have "pleaded with him to see through the rest of the season".

But there is confusion over the chances of a deal going through this month. The French side were expected to table an offer of £25m, but The Sun claims that Payet could now be in limbo as Marseille have "abandoned" their bid to sign him.

"Earlier in the week, Slaven Bilic warned the French club that the Hammers would not accept a cut price bid just because Payet had had a tantrum," explains the paper, which says the French side have called Bilic's bluff.

It all goes to show how delicate the power balance between player and club can be during a transfer window, says Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail. "Payet thinks he is in a position of strength: in two weeks' time, he is most certainly not," he says.

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