Wednesday 16 January 2019

Hammers leave Payet in limbo as Bilic targets new faces

West Ham United's Dimitri Payet
West Ham United's Dimitri Payet

Dimitri Payet remains in limbo at West Ham but manager Slaven Bilic is hopeful of making a new signing within the next 24 hours.

Wantaway France midfielder Payet is still training with the under-23 squad while the Hammers hierarchy haggle with Marseille, the club he wants to rejoin for personal reasons.

The east Londoners are taking a tough stance after Payet refused to play against Crystal Palace on Saturday and have already knocked back two bids.

Bilic insisted last week that the 29-year-old, West Ham's star player last season, would not be sold.

But with the end of the January transfer window looming Bilic has now told Marseille to pay the asking price if they want to land their man. "Is his departure inevitable? I don't know," said Bilic. "What has changed? Nothing.

"Dimi took his stance clearly. We took our stance very clearly and it stays the same. We are not going to sell our best players on the cheap just because someone wants to sign them or even because they want to go home.

"I left it with the chairman and I'm sure he's going to do the best thing. The ball is in Marseille's court. They are the ones who expressed interest. Now they should act."

Meanwhile Bilic has been linked with a move for Southampton defender Jose Fonte, although he denied claims the Portugal international has already had a medical. "Not a medical," he added. "Look, I said a few times already I'm not going to talk about names."

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