LIVERPOOL are weighing up a switch for West Ham star Dimitri Payet.
Irons chief Slaven Bilic revealed the news in a press conference on Thursday ahead of his team’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, as shared by West Ham’s Twitter account:
SB: "We have said we don't want to sell our best players but @dimpayet17 does not want to play for us. We are not going to sell him.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 12, 2017
Kieran Gill of the Daily Mail added further information from the Hammers boss:
Bilic on Payet: 'This team, the staff, we gave him everything, we were always there for him. I feel let down. I feel angry.'
— Kieran Gill (@kierangill_DM) January 12, 2017
He also added that Payet will not be with the first team for the time being and even suggested that transfer rules may have been broken, per Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports:
Slaven Bilic: "Dimitri Payet has probably been tapped up. Until he changes his attitude, he won't train or play with us. We won't sell him."
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) January 12, 2017
It’s claimed Liverpool could now also launch a bid to try and tempt West Ham into a January deal.
Cheshire Today report the Anfield giants are pondering a bid for Payet, 29.
They report Liverpool have been monitoring the situation, but would have to bid around £25m to even grab the attention of Bilic’s man.
In his column for the Daily Mail back in April, Carra raved:
“There is no doubt he [Payet] will be on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year award. It has been a joy to watch Payet play this season. He has set the Premier League alight”.
“Payet has captured the imagination. I know Liverpool looked at him five years ago when he played for Saint-Etienne”.
Liverpool were linked with Payet during Roy Hodgson’s reign, and at the time, the Daily Mail reported:
“Saint-Etienne have warned Liverpool off a move for Dimitri Payet”.
Payet’s departure would be a major blow for West Ham, whose first season at London Stadium has been disastrous. Three successive league victories in December eased the pressure on Bilic, but his side remain just seven points above the relegation zone.
Having scored twice and assisted six times in the league this season—Payet has therefore been involved in 35 per cent of the team’s goals—he is a vital asset in the fight for survival.
Upcoming matches against fellow strugglers Crystal Palace and Middlesbrough are crucial for West Ham, so news of Payet’s disruptive request is badly timed.
Bilic’s decision to openly discuss Payet’s intentions could be considered a gamble, but Daily Mirror writer John Cross thinks it was the right thing to do:
Good on West Ham and Bilic for going front foot, telling the story and shaming the player. Bilic delivered a master class there IMO.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) January 12, 2017
Since Payet’s talents are admired throughout England and beyond, news that he is unhappy at the club could trigger a flurry of bids in the coming weeks.
Not only do West Ham need to fend off these approaches, but they must find a way to ensure Payet acts in a professional manner if and when he returns to the pitch. Their place in the Premier League may depend on it.