Saturday 23 September 2017

Want-away Payet pockets £1m Hammers 'loyalty' bonus

Dimitri Payet is refusing to play for West Ham Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.
Dimitri Payet is refusing to play for West Ham Photo: Mike Egerton/PA Wire.

Matt Law

Dimitri Payet was paid a £1m 'loyalty' bonus only last September.

The France international's agent met West Ham chairman David Sullivan yesterday to reiterate that the player still wants to quit the club during the transfer window.

Payet has gone on strike, telling manager Slaven Bilic that he will never play for West Ham again as he tries to force through a move back to his former club Marseille.

A bid of just under £20m from the French club, with another £2.5m to be paid should they qualify for the Champions League, has been rejected by West Ham, who insist they do not want to sell, although they may do so if an asking price closer to £40m is met.

Payet's agent Jacques-Olivier Auguste met Sullivan to try to find a solution. West Ham have already said they will let the player go in the summer, but that offer has been rejected.

Payet has been unsettled since returning from the Euros last summer, after which he was given extra time off following France's defeat in the final, with Bilic working hard to keep his star player happy - and knowing the 29-year-old is a sensitive character.

At that time, Payet believed West Ham would receive offers from some of Europe's biggest clubs, but no bids were received.

His agent asked for a pay rise of around £40,000 a week, even though a new five-year deal was agreed last February. It made Payet the best-paid player in West Ham's history, on around £120,000 a week.

West Ham agreed to a £1m loyalty bonus once the summer transfer window closed in the hope that it would appease Payet and help him reach the performance levels of last season, when he was Hammer of the Year and was shortlisted for PFA Player of the Year award.

Payet held three meetings with Bilic this week during which the player informed him he would not play for the club again, with Payet not interested in joining the club that offers him the largest salary as he wants to join Marseille for personal reasons.

That resulted in the Frenchman being dropped from the first-team squad and he will not be allowed train with them until he changes his mind, while Payet claims he is suffering from a back injury.

"This situation has been developing for a little while now," Bilic said in his newspaper column yesterday.

"Two days ago, he and I had a meeting. I won't disclose what was said, but I was left in no doubt as to his intentions.

"Yesterday (Thursday), just before the normal pre-match press conference, I asked Dimitri one more time: 'Are you standing by what you said a couple of days ago?' He replied that he was, so that was that."

The 48-year-old Croatian also explained that his decision to banish Payet from training was one taken with the rest of the squad in mind, with the Hammers facing a pivotal Premier League clash against Crystal Palace, who are six points behind them.

"It has left me sad, angry, but life goes on. Dimitri has said he will not play for the club, so I have no alternative but to plan for the match without him," Bilic added. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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