West Ham refuse to be forced into the sale of Dimitri Payet after turning down an improved offer – believed to be £20.7m – from his former club Marseille.
It is understood the offer from Marseille is exactly £10million more from the fee the Hammers paid the French club to bring Payet to London in the summer of 2015. However, the offer was rebuffed by co-chairman David Sullivan on Monday afternoon.
Payet shocked the Hammers last week by declaring his desire to leave the London Stadium, despite having only signed a fresh deal last February after shining in his first season in the Premier League.
The 29-year-old quickly established himself as a fans’ favourite following his signing from Marseille, and was named as West Ham’s player of the year for their final campaign at Upton Park.
This season has not been as impressive for either Payet or Slaven Bilic’s side as a whole and the West Ham boss revealed last week that the France international is now refusing to play for the club.
Despite his stance, both co-chairmen Sullivan and David Gold have expressed that they have no financial need to sell the former Lille man and are refusing to be bullied into a quick sale.
Bilic announced the news at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, saying he was “let down and angry” at Payet’s decision.
The first team were given Monday off following their impressive display against the Eagles but Press Association Sport understands Bilic has followed through on his threat to banish Payet from training – and he will now practice with the under-23 side instead.
With other top-flight clubs also seeing their leading players linked with moves away in the current transfer window, Gold suggested how he would deal with the situation.
“With a number of top Premier League players holding clubs to ransom is it time to close the January transfer window?” Gold wrote on Twitter.
Payet certainly was not missed in the short term as West Ham beat Palace on Saturday, with Andy Carroll’s acrobatic overhead kick the pick of the goals.
Before the victory over former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, Sullivan insisted in his programme notes that Payet would not get his wish this month.
“The board’s position is that we do not want to sell Dimitri,” he wrote.
“We do not need to sell Dimitri for financial or any other reasons, and we will NOT sell Dimitri in the January transfer window.”
After the convincing London derby win, Bilic was more interested in praising those who did turn out.
“Payet is a great player so you are losing quality, but the team showed it is about the team and not individuals,” he said.
“This is a great example for that. So let’s talk about Carroll, or Darren Randolph, or Mark Noble.
“Michail Antonio had flu and a temperature of 38.4 last night. He showed brilliant determination, brilliant quality. That’s what I want to talk about.”