West Ham United warned that they are not “under financial pressure” to sell Dimitri Payet — with the London club rejecting improved bids from his old club Marseille.
Payet told Slaven Bilic last week that he no longer wishes to play for West Ham, and the Hammers had since cautioned the 29-year-old against his attempts to force their hand by allowing his physical condition to deteriorate if he is not sold this transfer window.
His behaviour has angered the club and it is unlikely he will play for them again, but a transfer could only happen if he apologises to the board and supporters.
Club chairman David Sullivan, meeting Marseille officials on Monday, have rejected a second bid from Marseille for the French forward, a re-offer made by the Ligue 1 side reported to be £1m higher than an initial bid of £19m.
While West Ham expects further offers from Payet’s former club — his only suitors at the moment — they remain unconvinced that the club will meet their asking price, with a significant gap standing between the two clubs in their respective valuations of the player.
Still, although initially adamant that they would not be open to negotiations, the Hammers could very well be tempted with offers above £30m.
Nonetheless, there is sympathy for Payet’s personal problems — his main cause for wanting a to leave London. His wife had since left for Marseille, and the rest of his family are reportedly homesick.
Payet, who missed West Ham’s Premier League weekend win against Crystal Palace, joined Slaven Bilic’s side for £10.7m from Marseille 18 months ago and excelled in his debut season. His form earned him a recall to the France squad and he was one of the stars of Euro 2016.