After selling Dimitri Payet to Olympique de Marseille for 25 million pounds ($31.2 million), West Ham United are offering fans a cut-price deal to get the French forward off their backs as well.
“Bring back your Payet shirt to any of the club shops & you will get a new replacement for 25 pounds,” the Premier League club’s vice-chairman Karen Brady said on Twitter on Monday in response to a query.
Basic short-sleeved 2016-17 West Ham team shirts without a player’s name on the back usually retail at 55 pounds each but are currently reduced to 36.66 in a sale at the club’s online store.
French international Payet, who stood out for the host nation at Euro 2016, had become a fan favourite at the Hammers after he joined from Marseille in 2015 for a reported 10.7 million pounds.
The relationship broke down when he told the East Londoners he no longer wanted to play for them and sought a return to Marseille in the current transfer window.
“This move is what I wanted. It was clear from the start,” Payet told a news conference in Marseille on Monday.
“I didn’t feel very good over there (London). I wanted to be part of this project that is just getting started. It came at a time when I missed France.
“It was drawn out because I started my stand-off with West Ham a long time ago. Slaven Bilic had his view. I spoke to him. I don’t want to talk about this at the moment, but I don’t have to justify my behaviour.
“I needed to come back to France to Marseille – it was a personal choice. I’m very happy. My main motivation is to play football. If I was playing for money, I’d be in another country.”
West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan said later on Monday that Payet’s team mates wanted the Frenchman to leave.
“As much as we (the club’s owners) didn’t want him out, you can’t go against the consensus of the team,” Sullivan told the BBC, adding that Payet sacrificed his wages for January.
“He’s not been talking to anyone in the squad. He’s been sitting in the corner of the room for his meals and he’s isolated himself. Before that he was bubbly, happy, shaking everyone’s hand before the match.
“Either it was a tactic or something in his head had changed.
“The team wanted him out, the manager (Bilic) — with great reluctance — wanted him out. We think it’s bonded the team better together.”
After a difficult start to the season, West Ham have won their last two Premier League games and are in 10th place.