Slaven Bilic says Dimitri Payet does not want to play for West Ham but the club are unwilling to sell the Frenchman.
It is being suggested that Payet will not attend training or play for the club in their match against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players but Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us,” Bilic said. “We are not going to sell him.
“I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay.”
West Ham boss Bilic added that he wants Payet to stay, having handed the 29-year-old a bumper five-year contract in 2016, believed to be worth £125,000-a-week.
But the West Ham manager was clearly hurt by the player’s decision.
“This team, the staff, we gave him everything, we were always there for him,” he added. “I feel let down. I feel angry.”
Payet has been linked with a number of Europe’s top clubs since his standout performances for the Hammers last season, which culminated with a starring role for France in their run to the Euro 2016 final.
What a difference a year makes… A sentiment ably assisted by the below tweet.
But as we all know, a year in football is a mighty long time, and Payet’s performances for club and country immediately after penning a new contract last February meant the list of admirers simply grew and grew.
The problem with Payet is two-fold. Firstly, the Frenchman is no spring chicken at 29, and any club coming in for him will be wary of how many years he can perform at the highest level – particularly given the fact that he could cost an arm and a leg, with co-chairman David Sullivan insisting Payet was worth £100m back in the summer.
It will be a risk for any club to take on Payet as it would almost certainly not represent value for money – a factor which would not deter Chinese Super League clubs however.
This ties into the second factor – Payet’s form this season. Are we seeing a player who is performing below-par because he is unsettled? Or did he simply reach heights in 2015/16 that will never be scaled again?
This will worry any potential suitor, and it would be a surprise if a Champions League-chasing club felt that the West Ham man would be a valuable addition to their starting XI.