LONDON: West Ham United playmaker Dimitri Payet has informed the club of his desire to leave and no longer wishes to play for them, manager Slaven Bilic revealed on Thursday.
Payet, 29, joined West Ham from Marseille in a reported £10.7 million ($13.1 million, 12.3 million euros) deal in 2015 and had a sensational first season, scoring 12 goals and supplying 12 assists.
But with West Ham lying 13th in the Premier League table and amid speculation linking him with a return to Marseille, the France international has decided he wants out.
“We have said we don’t want to sell our best players, but Dimitri Payet does not want to play for us,” Bilic told a press conference.
But he added: “We are not going to sell him.”
Bilic has asked Payet to stay away from training and said he would not feature in Saturday’s home game with Crystal Palace.
Payet signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract last February and Bilic seemed annoyed by the player’s stance.
“We have said hundreds of times we don’t want to sell our best players. He’s definitely our best player,” he said.
“That’s why we gave him a long contract and then a new contract four months later. I phoned him with that and he refused to play for us. I have a team to manage.
“He’s probably been tapped up by some clubs or whatever. That is usual at this time of year.
“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.”
Payet is reported to be the top January transfer target for Marseille coach Rudi Garcia, who previously worked with him at Lille between 2011 and 2013.
The Frenchman’s departure would be a major blow to West Ham and their fans, for whom Payet has become a terrace darling.
Despite the stand-off between player and club, Bilic remains hopeful that Payet has not played his last game for West Ham.
“I expect him to come back and show commitment and determination to the team, like the team has shown to him,” said the Croatian.
“I have spoken to the club, the chairman and the vice-chairman. It’s not a money issue. We want to keep him. That’s it.”
After a seventh-place finish last season, West Ham have struggled to adapt to life in their new London Stadium home — formerly the Olympic Stadium — and were thrashed 5-0 by Manchester City in the FA Cup last Friday.