West Ham turning a corner in Marseille negotiations for Dimitri Payet

According to this morning’s edition of L’Équipe, West Ham United appear to be turning a corner in the positive direction in their pursuit of Ligue 1’s 2014/15 season top assist maker and Marseille attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet.

West Ham have offered the player a five year contract with the option to extend for a 6th year. The player would earn €2.5m a net as a base salary and is guaranteed €15m net over the period of five years. He would earn an appearance fee worth €14,000 per appearance. 

West Ham’s offer of €15m stands on Marseille’s table at the time of writing, with OM needing to sell a player before the 30th June in order to comply with the deal agreed with the French football financial watchdog the DNCG which requires Marseille to balance their books or face punishments including docked points or even an automatic relegation.

They had hoped to have tied up a deal to sell Giannelli Imbula by now, but Valencia pulled out of the race after signing Rodrigo Caio and Inter Milan are getting cold feet despite agreeing a €20m deal for the player in principle. While it was understood that their deal with Monaco for Geoffrey Kondogbia would not affect their pursuit of Giannelli Imbula, it would appear that they might be trying to get a reduced price for Imbula as they know of Marseille’s financial situation. Southampton in recent hours have been in contact with the player, but no bid has been made. Arsenal have indirectly sounded out the player’s entourage through another agent, while Tottenham have a keen interest in the player but have yet to lodge a formal bid. 

As for Florian Thauvin, Newcastle United made a €12m offer for the player in May and an unnamed side has now made an offer worth around €20m for the player in recent days. Thauvin has confirmed to Marseille that he has no interest in leaving the club this summer and rejected Newcastle’s advances in May. 

Marseille President Vincent Labrune’s problem is that the sale of Florian Thauvin instead of Dimitri Payet would please Marcelo Bielsa more, the manager who has of course yet to sign a contract extension, with his current Marseille deal expiring in 6 days. A Payet departure might affect Bielsa’s future in a way which would see the Marseille project implode.

Dimitri Payet and Marcelo Bielsa have an extremely close bond, the latter seeing the player as a crucial part of the team for next season and Payet very interested in remaining at Marseille for another season to work with Bielsa again, provided that he is offered a reasonable contract extension. A meeting took place yesterday regarding an extension and while there was no immediate agreement made, Payet’s intentions were clear, he wishes to remain with Marseille.

If anything, Marseille’s approach to the contract extension negotiations were less exuberant than Payet’s camp would have liked, which might suggest that Marseille are seriously considering selling the player. Marseille is a jigsaw puzzle, but who will go first?

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