West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan has hit out following the completion of Dimitri Payet’s £25 million move to Marseille on Sunday evening.
Payet signed a five-year extension at the Hammers last year following a stunning 2015-16 campaign, before reportedly refusing to play for Slaven Bilic’s side and forcing a move away from the club,
The diminutive playmaker’s return to Marseille was confirmed by the Ligue 1 club on Sunday evening and was closely followed by a strong statement from Sullivan, stating if it were solely up to him and his board members, Payet would have been forced to remain at the club.
“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,” the club statement begins. “Particularly when it rewarded him with a lucrative new five-and-a-half-year deal only last year.
“I would like to make it clear that we have no financial need to sell out best players and that the decision to allow Payet to leave was in accordance with the wishes of our 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 the qualty of the players 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.”
Sullivan’s son Jack also took to Twitter, though was more frank with his opinion of the France international’s behaviour, posting numerous images of snakes as Payet’s “best bits”.
Payet made 17 Premier League starts for West Ham this season, scoring twice and registering six assists, before being excluded from first-team activity by Hammers boss Bilic.