West Ham United’s attacking midfielder Dimitri Payet has reached a provisional contract agreement with Marseille ahead of a possible January move, according to our colleagues at L’Équipe.
The French newspaper claims that Payet was surprised by manager Slaven Bilic’s words in the press conference yesterday, when the Croatian decided to ban the Frenchman from first team training until his attitude changed and also claimed that Payet was effectively striking after asking to leave the club and being told he could not.
Payet did not train yesterday, having trained with the first team for the last few days, citing lower back pain as the reason for not doing so. The newspaper says that this has been a recurring problem for Payet, who could be out for several days because of it. In any case, Payet will not defy Bilic and will accept to train with the youth team once he is fit enough again. The notion of striking, however, appears to be incorrect.
The timing of West Ham’s decision to exclude Payet from the first team coincides with an offer from Olympique de Marseille for the player’s services. An offer of €22m and €3m in bonuses was lodged and subsequently rejected for the Frenchman. Marseille President Eyraud has spoken to Dimitri Payet on the phone on several occasions over the last two months, as has manager Rudi Garcia.
West Ham’s stubbornness is the biggest stumbling block in this potential deal, quite obviously, even if the Hammers would prefer to sell the player abroad than to another side in the Premier League.
Dimitri Payet has agreed personal terms with Marseille. He has been offered a great salary from a Ligue 1 perspective, one that comes close to matching his current wage with West Ham. From a football point of view, the idea of leaving Premier League strugglers West Ham for the ambitious new project at Marseille has not affected the Frenchman in a negative way either.
Payet feels that he has been lied to about the project at West Ham, with their summer transfer window failings not living up to the vision that the board sold him when he signed a contract extension.
However, Marseille do not have unlimited resources. If they are to make this deal happen this month, they need to quickly come in with an improved, more serious offer. If Payet does not leave this month, the idea of his departure in the summer is inevitable.
But for now, can Marseille move the needle?