Angry OM accept Hammers' Payet bid
Published 25/06/2015 | 10:31
Marseille have grudgingly accepted an offer from West Ham for forward Dimitri Payet.
Payet, who has played 15 times for France, is expected to arrive at Upton Park on Thursday to undergo a medical and is set to become new manager Slaven Bilic's first major signing since succeeding Sam Allardyce at West Ham.
Marseille issued a lengthy statement saying it is "absolutely not their intention" to sell Payet but that they were forced to accept the bid after a dispute with the player and his agent over a new contract.
The French club also claimed that West Ham have offered Payet a "golden bridge" - a six-year contract worth £21.3million (30m euros) - to play in the Premier League.
Marseille said that they were unable to match West Ham's offer but remained hopeful the France international, who signed from Lille in 2013, would stay with the Ligue 1 outfit.
A statement on Marseille's official website read: "At the start of June, an agreement was reached with Dimitri and his agent. The two parties agreed at this time that the OM playmaker would honour the remaining two years of his contract.
"On June 22, Dimitri's agent requested a new meeting with President Vincent Labrune. He announced that he and his player had opened negotiations with West Ham, saying that the English club offered a contract of six years worth 30m euros.
"The agent then demanded a huge and immediate revaluation of Dimitri Payet's contract to remain at Marseille."
The French club also appeared to suggest West Ham, whose bid is said to be in the region of £11million, had approached Payet without their permission.
"Unable to meet this demand, Marseille, through the voice of its president, expressed surprise that negotiations had been opened with another club without alerting Marseille."
The statement continued: "The club rejected the reckless demands of Dimitri Payet's agent, agreeing to revise the player's contract for the better but in a reasonable manner and only in mid-July, after fulfilling our obligations to the DNCG (French football's financial body).
"The player's agent refused this timetable and demanded a quick response from Vincent Labrune and warned that otherwise, he would favour the path to England.
"Surprised by this ultimatum, the Marseille president decided to accept the English offer, while at the same time giving the player a choice: stay with a club he says he loves and wait until mid-July for talks with the president to revise his contract, or take the 'golden bridge' offered by West Ham.
"OM hope, evidently, that Dimitri chooses to stay in Marseille next season."
Everton were also reportedly interested in signing Payet, but it appears as though the 28-year-old will now join Bilic at West Ham.
He played 36 times for Marseille last term, scoring seven goals. Payet, who scored in France's 4-3 defeat against Belgium earlier this month, also had the most assists in Ligue 1 last season with 16.