Dimitri Payet has completed his move to Marseille from West Ham on Sunday night. The 29-year-old forward has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract after a £25m deal was agreed upon between the clubs earlier in the day.
A statement on West Ham’s official website read:
“West Ham United have sold Dimitri Payet to Olympique de Marseille for a fee of £25m. The French midfielder has been sold after stating that he no longer wished to play for the Hammers.”
According to reports from the Mirror, the transfer fee could rise to £30m for the playmaker, if bonuses are taken into consideration.
Payet pushed hard for the move and cited family problems as the central reason why he wanted to return to France. He joined West Ham in a £10.7m deal in the summer of 2015, and was arguably the club’s best player over the past 18 months.
The Frenchman was effectively on strike with West Ham since 10 January. He refused to play for Bilic’s team and was banished to train with the under-23s.
West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan said on the club’s website:
The club would like to place on record its sincere disappointment that Dimitri Payet did not show the same commitment and respect to West Ham United that the club and fans showed him, particularly when it rewarded him with a lucrative new five-and-half-year deal only last year.
I would like to make it clear that we have no financial need to sell our best players and that the decision to allow Payet to leave was in accordance with the wishes of the manager and the interests of squad unity. To be frank, my board and I would have preferred for him to have stayed in order to make an example of him, as no player is bigger than the club.
I am confident that with the quality of the players we have brought in during January already, the squad will be stronger at the end of this transfer window than it was at the start. We now look forward to building on our recent good run of form with five league wins in the last seven matches as we focus on.
Payet signed an improved contract in February last year, which saw him earning £125,000 a week until 2021. However, after knowing that his position at the club was untenable, West Ham decided to let him go.
West Ham wanted at least £30m for their star player. After rejecting two bids from Marseille, the London club were finally forced to compromise.
West Ham have moved quickly to find a replacement, and have signed the attacking midfielder Robert Snodgrass from Hull City for £10.2m. The Hammers are expecting to complete a deal for the Brentford striker Scott Hogan, for a fee in the region of £13m, before Tuesday’s transfer deadline.