The downward spiral of Dimitri Payet’s relations with West Ham has finally come to a halt with the playmaker joining Marseille.
Regardless of the £25million deal to jet him back to the South of France, the Hammers board are determined to enjoy one last dig at the midfielder, who turns 30 in two months.
David Sullivan and David Gold slapped a £60million price tag on the Frenchman after Euro 2016, so in many ways, his departure for less than half of that fee has left them looking rather silly.
In a statement on the club’s official website explaining the sale, however, they insisted that squad unity was paramount.
“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,” Sullivan said.
“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 continuing our rise up the Premier League table.”
It’s almost three weeks since Payet went on strike and refused to play for Slaven Bilic’s side again, so his departure will come as a great relief.
Remarkably, his absence seems to have coincided with an upturn in form too, his former team-mates having won their last two Premier League games in a row.