Payet refuses to play, says angry Bilic

Dimitri Payet, 29, signed fresh terms on a contract with West Ham until the summer of 2021, after a stellar first season - scoring 12 goals and supplying 12 assists - in the Premier League.
Dimitri Payet, 29, signed fresh terms on a contract with West Ham until the summer of 2021, after a stellar first season - scoring 12 goals and supplying 12 assists - in the Premier League.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • Slaven Bilic, the West Ham manager, says he feels "angry" and "let down" by Dimitri Payet, after revealing his star player has expressed his desire to leave the Premier League football club.

At his pre-match press conference yesterday, Bilic also said Payet is not training with the club and will not feature against Crystal Palace tomorrow.

The manager said he feels his "best player" has had his head turned by other clubs sounding him out and has probably been "tapped up".

West Ham moved quickly to tie the France international down to a fresh contract last February, only seven months into the five-year deal he signed on joining the club.

The 29-year-old signed fresh terms on a contract until the summer of 2021, after a stellar first season - scoring 12 goals and supplying 12 assists - in the Premier League following his £10.7 million (S$18.7 million) switch from Marseille.

Payet's impressive club form also won him back his place in the France squad for Euro 2016.

"We have said we don't want to sell our best players but Payet does not want to play for us. He wants to leave," Bilic said. "I feel let down. I feel angry. I spoke to the chairman and this is not a money issue. We gave him a long contract because we want him to stay."

Payet has been linked with lucrative moves to China and some of the biggest clubs in Europe but Bilic has always remained confident of retaining his key asset and previously said he was "relaxed" about the playmaker's future.

The player has also been linked with a return to Marseille and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

"I expect him to come back and show commitment and determination to the team, like the team have shown to him," Bilic said. "But until he changes his attitude he is out of the team and he's not going to train with us. But we are not going to sell him, not whatsoever."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Payet refuses to play, says angry Bilic'. Print Edition | Subscribe