Ligue 1 side Marseille have confirmed the signing of Dimitri Payet from Premier League team West Ham United for a fee of £25 million.
The Frenchman has signed on a four-and-a-half year contract having passed a medical on Sunday evening and he will be presented on Monday at 13:30 (UK time) alongside club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud and the sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta.
West Ham released a strong statement through co-owner David Sullivan, who has made it clear that he and the board wanted to keep Payet in order to make an example of him.
He explained that the decision to sell was influenced by the manager and the unity of the squad, adding that he felt confident in the players they had brought in.
The statement in full said: :
“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. ”
“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.
Payet left Marseille to join the Hammers in the summer of 2015 and he led them to seventh in the table, being named as the club’s Player of the Year and narrowly missing out to Riyad Mahrez in the PFA Player of the Year award in the process.
He signed a new five-and-a-half year contract in February last year to make him the highest paid player at the club following his excellent start to his career in the Premier League.
However, he made it clear at the start of the January window that he wished to leave and return to Marseille, with reports in France indicating that his young family had not settled and he wanted to move back to France for their sake.
Payet refused to play for the squad’s U23s having been left out of the first team at his own request and negotiations continued to drag on but with little time remaining before the end of the window a compromise was finally reached.
The forward has reportedly taken a pay cut of £25,000 per week in order to return to Marseille, who are now bankrolled by their new American owner Frank McCourt, and Payet becomes their third signing following Patrice Evra from Juventus and Morgan Sanson from Montpellier.