Sports / Updates
Tuesday, 31 Jan 2017 09:37 EATtmatalanga@kenyafreepress.com
West Ham's players wanted Dimitri Payet out of the club prior to his move back to Marseille, says the club's joint-chairman David Sullivan. France forward Payet rejoined the Ligue 1 club on Sunday after allegedly refusing to play for the Hammers for the past month. "As much as we didn't want him out, you can't go against the consensus of the team," Sullivan said
Sullivan went on to reveal that Payet sacrificed his wages for January. "He's not been talking to anyone in the squad. He's been sitting in the corner of the room for his meals and he's isolated himself. Before that he was bubbly, happy, shaking everyone's hand before the match. Either it was a tactic or something in his head had changed. The team wanted him out, the manager with great reluctance wanted him out. We think it's bonded the team better together," said Sullivan of Payet, who joined West Ham in June 2015.
West Ham had paid Marseille £10.7m for the attacking midfielder in 2015. However earlier this month manager Slaven Bilic said that he did not want to play for the club any more. "You could make him sit in the reserves for six months, and cost you another two or three million pounds in wages, and we thought about it because what we got out of Marseille wasn't our valuation of the player.
"The player's surrendered his January wages, so there's a bit of dignity we got with that. You've got to take a sensible view, the offer was just about what we could accept. I can't say I'm pleased with it. It's a damage limitation deal," said Sullivan, who rejected two initial bids for Payet.
After re-signing for Marseille, where he had previously spent two years, Payet said it was a "personal choice" to return and he needed to go "back to his roots". Sullivan added: "We tried to talk him round but we accepted we weren't going to be able to. We offered free flights home, help for his wife, everything we could possibly do but he wanted to go back to Marseille. On his day he's an outstanding player. I feel very sad he's no longer a West Ham player."
Matalanga is a student of journalism at the East Africa School of Media Studies and an intern writer at the Kenya Free Press.