Slaven Bilic has revealed what was said between himself and wantaway West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet, and the reason why Bilic felt that he was left with no other option than to reveal his refusal to play for the club in the hope of securing a January transfer.
Writing in his column for the Evening Standard, Bilic opened up on the dispute that is threatening to rock West Ham’s already-unstable season that sees them just seven points above the relegation zone.
Bilic said at his press conference on Thursday that Payet had effectively gone on strike after refusing to play for West Ham anymore, and as a result Bilic decided he can no longer train with the rest of the first team given his change in attitude.
But it would appear that the situation has been bubbling away under the surface for some time, as Bilic explained.
“This situation with Dimitri has been developing for a little while now,” Bilic writes. “Two days ago, he and I had a meeting. I won’t disclose what was said, but I was left in no doubt as to his intentions.
“Yesterday, just before the normal pre-match press conference, I asked Dimitri one more time: “Are you standing by what you said a couple of days ago or have you thought more about it?” He replied that he was standing by his decision, so that was that. The right thing to do then was to tell the supporters and the players what was happening and I informed the squad later that morning, before we began training.”
The 48-year-old Croatian also explained that his decision to banish Payet from training was one taken with the rest of the squad in mind, with the Hammers facing a pivotal Premier League clash this weekend against a Crystal Palace side just six points behind them.
Bilic stressed that Payet will not be sold this month, despite interest in him emerging from former club Marseille as well as Premier League leaders Chelsea, and part of the club’s frustration and anger with his actions stems from the fact that he was awarded a £120,000-a-week last February that runs until 2021 with the option of another year on top.
“It has left me sad, angry, but at the moment Dimitri has said he will not play for the club, so I have no alternative but to plan for Saturday’s match without him,” Bilic continued. “He will not train with the rest of the squad and the club’s position remains consistent, which is that he is not for sale.
“It would be much, much better if this had not happened and that he had remained committed to West Ham, but that is not the case, so life goes on.”
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